Rehberg says he 'believes’ in a flat-rate income tax for the nation

2012-10-09T17:00:00Z Rehberg says he 'believes’ in a flat-rate income tax for the nationBy MIKE DENNISON IR State Bureau Helena Independent Record
October 09, 2012 5:00 pm  • 

BILLINGS — Republican U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, who’s challenging U.S. Sen. Jon Tester for one of Montana's spots in the Senate, resurrected his support for enacting a flat-rate federal income tax in comments during a Monday night debate.

“I believe in a flat tax,” he said at a televised debate with Tester, D-Mont., in Billings on Monday night. “I’m fighting for a flat tax because I think ultimately that is the best way to go.”

It’s not the first time that Rehberg, Montana’s sole congressman, has talked about his preference for one, single federal income-tax rate for all tax-paying households in America. However, he hasn’t made the stance a centerpiece of his campaign this year.

Asked about his comment Tuesday morning, Rehberg said he’s been talking about it for a couple of years, mainly as a preferred alternative to a national sales tax, as part of overall tax reform.

He said he would oppose a national sales tax and instead would look at the flat-rate income tax — but not as a way to raise new revenue.

Rehberg said a flat tax likely would include elimination of many deductions, to simplify the tax code, and might be in the range of 10 percent to 11 percent. However, he said any serious discussion of the issue in Congress is a ways down the road.

Tester said while he supports overall simplification of the U.S. tax code, he is opposed to a flat tax, because it would likely increase taxes for working Montanans with moderate incomes.

Tester’s campaign said Rehberg supports a flat-rate tax because it would benefit multimillionaires like himself.

Rehberg said he hasn’t thought about the class-by-class impacts of the flat-rate tax because at this point, nobody has put forth a concrete, detailed proposal.

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(9) Comments

  1. steeline
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    steeline - October 12, 2012 9:03 am
    skooter if it were someone else that says what you say I might take it to heart. However, it is entertaining to read your left wing spin on reality. We have to get America Right.
  2. skooter
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    skooter - October 10, 2012 10:53 pm
    Unfortunately steeline isn't aware of anything but the misleading, often false and totally inflamatory things he says and repeats (like blaming the girl with CP and her family in the article in Sunday's paper...classy).

    It's a good explanation jkc - but wasted on many here.
  3. jkc
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    jkc - October 10, 2012 7:20 pm
    I am sure then that this poster is keenly aware then that the 47 percent only applies to federal income taxes, not the numerous other taxes that people have to pay. For example, 28 percent of Americans don't pay income tax, but they do contribute payroll taxes, which is what funds the two biggest entitlement programs, Medicare and Social Security. However, they either make next to nothing in wages or they qualify for enough credits (dependent exemptions; mortgage, tuition or student loan deductions, etc) to wipe out their tax bill. A family of four that makes less than $30,000 a year can easily erase their tax liability though standard deductions. So that leaves 18 percent of people who do not work at all, or make so little that they don't even pay payroll taxes. More than half of that group (10 percent of people) are retired and elderly people. They live off pensions or Social Security benefits, which are not taxed. But they spent a lifetime paying into those funds and no one would call them irresponsible. Not even Mitt Romney wants to axe Social Security. So that means that of the Americans who don't pay income taxes, 83 percent either have a job or are retired. The rest — less then 10 percent of the total population — are probably unemployed (though even unemployment benefits are taxed); are too poor to pay taxes, or simply didn't file a return. Some of them are even be rich people who found ways to avoid having any liability, although that's a very small number of Americans. Plus, depending on where they live, most people pay some form of state and local income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, or other government fees. Thanks, great discussion!
  4. jkc
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    jkc - October 10, 2012 7:09 pm
    Of course Denny "hasn't thought about the class-by-class impacts of the flat-rate tax." It's too easy to make blanket statements that don't have much merit. Of course, some would argue that as congressman, it's really his job to sort out all those intricate little details when such a bold statement is made. But, true to character, he's just confused. The truth is, the flat tax erroneously rewards the rich and has always been classified as a 'regressive tax'; under such a structure, those with lower incomes tend to pay a higher proportion of their income in total taxes than the affluent do.

    Flat tax has been proposed as a means of simplifying the tax code from the current progressive or graduated marginal tax rates. Yet of the 72,000+ pages in the US tax code as of 2009, less than a quarter of one of those pages is needed to list the progressive marginal tax rates. Calculating the progressive tax after determining the net taxable income may be the simplest activity one performs in manually calculating one's income tax liability. Extreme simplification could be achieved by merely eliminating all tax deductions, exclusions, subsidies, rebates etc. and retaining the six tier progressive marginal tax structure.
  5. FlamingLiberal1
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    FlamingLiberal1 - October 10, 2012 3:33 pm
    Steeline, there you go again with the 47% nonsense. When you look at the overall tax burden, the 47% pay a similar amount to everyone else. And we have a graduated personal income tax system because we agreed some time ago that those who have more, who have benefitted most from an uneven playing field, ought to pay a wee bit more. And Mr. Romney had a net rate of 14% recently... that's lower than a lot of working people pay. The 47% is largely retirees on Social Security, students, and the working poor, and the reason they don't pay federal income tax is that they don't have enough darn money!
  6. catspaw
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    catspaw - October 10, 2012 1:37 pm
    What a line of nonsense. So I guess that Rehberg believes that the CEO or corporation should reap the benefits of tax breaks, loopholes, and pay the same tax amount as the burger flipper at McD's. Or maybe just do what Romney does and parks his income in the Caymans and pay no taxes at all.

    A question for Tea Partiers/Repubs/Rehberg - If you would like to socialize costs such as taxes for all with a flat tax, then would you also propose that everyone from the CEO to the burger flipper at McD's also get a flat rate tax break/loophole amount? This one size fits all approach should go both ways.

    Vote Jon Tester and Common Sense.
  7. steeline
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    steeline - October 10, 2012 10:41 am
    Flat tax sounds like an idea. That way everyone would be afforded the opportunity to pay there "fair share". We have 47% of the people not paying any income tax while the rest of us do. That is not fair. Even the "under the table" money, when spent, would be subject to a tax. We have to get everyone in the game and pay their fair share. The tax payers are getting fed up with having to pay all the bills. After all it is only Right.
  8. FlamingLiberal1
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    FlamingLiberal1 - October 10, 2012 10:08 am
    So Rehberg supports a flat tax but he hasn't really thought about the class-by-class impacts? And this man thinks he is qualified to serve in the Senate? Send his butt home to Rehberg Ranch Estates and keep the thoughtful JOHN TESTER where he belongs, working for Montanans in the US Senate.
  9. skooter
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    skooter - October 10, 2012 9:40 am
    Ah...leave it to sharp thinking Denny R to come up with another piece of VOODOO to go with those gems in the republican mythbook...voodoo economics and trickledown strategies. I also put this in the class of the right's REREG madness that suggested that we should just loosen all regulations for all industries - and the middle class paid the price. They gave us Enron, MTPOWER telecomm stupidity, our housing some point you'd think people would call the right on it's crazy harebrained schemes that we take in the end (literally and figuratively).

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