Johnny Isakson on Tax Reform
Republican Jr Senator; previously Rep (GA-6)
Move forward on meaningful reform in tax policy
MAJETTE: Majette criticized Isakson’s support of a national sales tax. “Eighty percent of the people of Georgia would see an increase in their overall taxes if this plan goes into effect.”
ISAKSON: I am one of these people that doesn’t preclude any consideration from debate. I just want us to have the debate and move forward on meaningful reform in tax policy.
Source: [Xref Majette] GA Senate Debate, reported on 11Alive
, Oct 20, 2004
FairTax: repeal the current tax system
Q: Johnny, what is your position on the Fair Tax?
A: A consumption tax would be the most appropriate way to fund the federal government, and am a cosponsor of the Fair Tax. I have cosponsored legislation to repeal the current tax system and recommend
a new tax system to the President and Congress before the 2007 deadline. It is amazing how quickly the government works when they are threatened with no money. Until true tax reform is adopted, however, I have worked to lower taxes for all Americans.
Source: 2004 Senate campaign website, Isakson.net, “Ask Johnny”
, Aug 13, 2004
Voted NO on increasing tax rate for people earning over $1 million.
CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: To put children ahead of millionaires and billionaires by restoring the pre-2001 top income tax rate for people earning over $1 million, and use this revenue to invest in LIHEAP; IDEA; Head Start; Child Care; nutrition; school construction and deficit reduction.
SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Sen. SANDERS: The wealthiest people in the country have not had it so good since the 1920s. Their incomes are soaring, while at the same time the middle class is shrinking, and we have by far the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country. The time is now to begin changing our national priorities and moving this country in a different direction.
This amendment restores the top income tax bracket for households earning more than $1 million a year, it raises $32.5 billion over 3 years, and invests that in our kids, including
$10 billion for special education.
OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:Sen. KYL: The problem is we are spending the same dollar 3 or 4 times, it appears. The Sanders amendment is paid for by raising taxes another $32.5 billion, ostensibly from the rich; that is to say, by raising taxes on people who make over $1 million a year. Here is the problem with that. The budget on the floor already assumes the expiration of the current tax rates; that is to say, the rates on the highest level go from 35% to 39.6%, and that money is spent. If you took all the top-rate income, you would come up with $25 billion a year, not even enough to meet what is here, and that money has already been spent. The reality is somewhere or other, somehow, more taxes would have to be raised. I don't think the American people want to do that, particularly in the current environment.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Amendment rejected, 43-55
Bill S.Amdt.4218 to S.Con.Res.70
; vote number 08-S064
on Mar 13, 2008
Voted YES on allowing AMT reduction without budget offset.
CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY:To exempt from pay-as-you-go enforcement modifications to the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT) that prevent millions of additional taxpayers from having to pay the AMT.
SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Sen. GRASSLEY: The Senate voted to make sure that middle-class America didn't pay the AMT, and we did it without an offset, by a vote of [about 95%]. So here we are again with an opportunity to say to middle-class America that we are not going to tax the people who were not supposed to be hit by the AMT. This amendment gives us an opportunity to get over that hurdle that is in this budget resolution that, under pay-go, you would have to have an offset for the AMT. Unless my amendment is adopted, the 25 million families who will be hit by the AMT increase will get a tax increase of over $2,000 apiece. They deserve a guarantee of relief.OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:
Sen. CONRAD: If you want to blow a hole in the budget as big as all outdoors, here is your opportunity--a trillion dollars not paid for, a trillion dollars that we are going to go out and borrow from the Chinese and Japanese. That makes absolutely no sense. I urge my colleagues to vote no.LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Amendment rejected, 47-51
Bill S.Amdt.4276 to S.Con.Res.70
; vote number 08-S078
on Mar 13, 2008
Voted YES on raising the Death Tax exemption to $5M from $1M.
CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY:To protect small businesses, family ranches and farms from the Death Tax by providing a $5 million exemption, a low rate for smaller estates and a maximum rate no higher than 35%.
SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Sen. KYL: This amendment is a reprise of what we did last year in offering to reform the estate tax, sometimes referred to as the death tax. Now, in the budget itself, there is a provision to allow the death tax to be changed from the current law to a top rate of 45% and an exempted amount of $3.5 million, and there are some other features. My amendment would reduce that top rate to no higher than 35% so that if you had more than one rate, at least the top rate could not exceed 35%, and both of the two spouses would have a $5 million exempted amount before the estate tax would kick in. Now, the reason for my amendment is: current law [is] getting up to a high rate of 55% and an exempted amount of either $2 million or
$1 million, probably $1 million--a continued unfair burden on primarily America's small businesses and farms.
OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:Sen. CONRAD: This amendment would virtually eliminate the estate tax. Let me say why. Let me first say there is no death tax in the country. Of course, if you poll people and you ask them: Do you want to eliminate the death tax? they will say sure. But you are not going to pay any tax when you die unless you have $2 million. There is no death tax in America. There is a tax on estates. At today's level of $2 million, that affects only 0.5% of estates. When the exemption reaches $3.5 million in 2009, 0.2% of estates will be taxed. If the amendment is agreed to, we would be borrowing money in the name of 99.8% of the American people, borrowing primarily from China & Japan, to give it to the Warren Buffets, the Paris Hiltons, & others of enormous wealth in this country.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Amendment rejected, 50-50
Reference: Kyl Amendment;
Bill S.Amdt.4191 to S.Con.Res.70
; vote number 08-S050
on Feb 13, 2008
Voted YES on repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax.
Amendment would accommodate the full repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax, preventing 23 million families and individuals from being subject to the AMT in 2007, and millions of families and individuals in subsequent years.
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
This amendment repeals the AMT. Except for the telephone tax, the alternative minimum tax is the phoniest tax we have ever passed. The AMT, in 1969, was meant to hit 155 taxpayers who used legal means to avoid taxation, under the theory that everybody ought to pay some income tax.
This very year, more than 2,000 people who are very wealthy are not paying any income tax or alternative minimum income tax. So it is not even working and hitting the people it is supposed to hit. Right now, this year, 2007, the year we are in, there are 23 million families that are going to be hit by this tax. It is a phony revenue machine, over 5 years, $467 billion dollars.
We are going to have to have a point of order this year to keep these 23 million taxpayers from paying this tax. We might as well do away with it right now, once and for all, and be honest about it.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
The reality of the budget resolution is this may not have anything to do with eliminating the alternative minimum tax. The one thing it will do is reduce the revenue of the Government over the next 5 years by $533 billion, plunging us right back into deficit. Look, we can deal with the AMT. We have dealt with it in the underlying budget resolution for the next 2 years. There will be no increase in the number of people affected by the AMT for the next 2 years under the budget resolution, and that is paid for. Unfortunately, this amendment is not paid for. It would plunge us back into deficit. I urge my colleagues to vote no.
Reference: Grassley Amendment;
Bill S.Amdt.471 on S.Con.Res.21
; vote number 2007-108
on Mar 23, 2007
Voted YES on raising estate tax exemption to $5 million.
An amendment to raise the death tax exemption to $5 million; reducing the maximum death tax rate to 35%; and to promote economic growth by extending the lower tax rates on dividends and capital gains.
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
It is disappointing to many family businesses and farm owners to set the death tax rate at what I believe is a confiscatory 45% and set the exemption at only $3.5 million, which most of us believe is too low. This leaves more than 22,000 families subject to the estate tax each year.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
You can extend all the tax breaks that have been described in this amendment if you pay for them.
The problem with the amendment is that over $70 billion is not paid for. It goes on the deficit, which will drive the budget right out of balance. We will be going right back into the deficit ditch. Let us resist this amendment. People could support it if it was paid for, but it is not. However well intended the amendment is, it spends $72.5 billion with no offset. This amendment blows the budget. This amendment takes us from a balance in 2012 right back into deficit. My colleagues can extend those tax cuts if they pay for them, if they offset them. This amendment does not pay for them; it does not offset them; it takes us back into deficit. It ought to be defeated.
Reference: Kyl Amendment;
Bill S.Amdt.507 on S.Con.Res.21
; vote number 2007-083
on Mar 21, 2007
Voted YES on supporting permanence of estate tax cuts.
Increases the estate tax exclusion to $5,000,000, effective 2015, and repeals the sunset provision for the estate and generation-skipping taxes. Lowers the estate tax rate to equal the current long-term capital gains tax rate (i.e., 15% through 2010) for taxable estates up to $25 million. Repeals after 2009 the estate tax deduction paid to states.
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
The permanent solution to the death tax challenge that we have today is a compromise. It is a compromise that prevents the death rate from escalating to 55% and the exclusion dropping to $1 million in 2011. It also includes a minimum wage increase, 40% over the next 3 years. Voting YES is a vote for that permanent death tax relief. Voting YES is for that extension of tax relief. Voting YES is for that 40% minimum wage increase. This gives us the opportunity to address an issue that will affect the typical American family, farmers, & small business owners.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Family businesses and family farms should not be broken up to pay taxes. With the booming economy of the 1990s, many more Americans joined the ranks of those who could face estate taxes. Raising the exemption level and lowering the rate in past legislation made sense. Under current law, in my State of Delaware, fewer than 50 families will face any estate tax in 2009. I oppose this legislation's complete repeal of the estate tax because it will cost us $750 billion. Given the world we live in today, with clear domestic needs unmet, full repeal is a luxury that we cannot afford.
To add insult to this injury, the first pay raise for minimum wage workers in 10 years is now hostage to this estate tax cut. We are told that to get those folks on minimum wage a raise, we have to go into debt, so that the sons and daughters of the 7,000 most fortunate families among us will be spared the estate tax. We must say no to this transparent gimmick.
Reference: Estate Tax and Extension of Tax Relief Act;
Bill H.R. 5970
; vote number 2006-229
on Aug 3, 2006
Voted YES on permanently repealing the `death tax`.
A cloture motion ends debate and forces a vote on the issue. In this case, voting YES implies support for permanently repealing the death tax. Voting against cloture would allow further amendments. A cloture motion requires a 3/5th majority to pass. This cloture motion failed, and there was therefore no vote on repealing the death tax.
Proponents of the motion say:
- We already pay enough taxes over our lifetimes We are taxed from that first cup of coffee in the morning to the time we flip off the lights at bedtime. If you are an enterprising entrepreneur who has worked hard to grow a family business or to keep and maintain that family farm, your spouse and children can expect to hear the knock of the tax man right after the Grim Reaper.
- In the past, when Congress enacted a death tax, it was at an extraordinary time of war, and the purpose was to raise temporary funds. But after the war was over the death tax was repealed. But that changed in the last century.
The death tax was imposed and has never been lifted.
- The death tax tells people it is better to consume today than to invest for the future. That doesn't make sense.
Opponents of the motion say:
Reference: Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act;
Bill HR 8
; vote number 2006-164
on Jun 8, 2006
- Small businesses and farms rarely--if ever--are forced to sell off assets or close up shop to pay the tax. Under the current exemption, roughly 99% of estates owe nothing in estate taxes. By 2011, with a $3.5 million exemption, only two of every 100,000 people who die that year would be subject to the estate tax.
- Today's vote is on a motion to proceed to a bill to repeal the estate tax. Not to proceed to a compromise or any other deal--but to full repeal. I oppose full repeal of the estate tax. Our Nation can no longer afford this tax break for the very well off. Permanently repealing the estate tax would add about $1 trillion to our national debt from 2011 to 2021.
Voted NO on $47B for military by repealing capital gains tax cut.
To strengthen America's military, to repeal the extension of tax rates for capital gains and dividends, to reduce the deficit, and for other purposes. Specifically, a YES vote would appropriate $47 billion to the military and would pay for it by repealing the extension of tax cuts for capital gains and dividends to 2010 back to 2008. The funds wuold be used as follows:
Reference: Tax Relief Extension Reconciliation Act;
Bill S Amdt 2737 to HR 4297
; vote number 2006-008
on Feb 2, 2006
- $25.4 billion for procurement
- $17 billion for Army operation and maintenance
- $4.5 billion for Marine Corps operation and maintenance
Voted YES on retaining reduced taxes on capital gains & dividends.
Vote to reduce federal spending by $56.1 billion over five years by retaining a reduced tax rate on capital gains and dividends, as well as.
- Decreasing the number of people that will be required to pay the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)
- Allowing for deductions of state and local general sales taxes through 2007 instead of 2006
- Lengthening tax credits for research expenses
- Increasing the age limit for eligibility for food stamp recipients from 25 to 35 years
- Continuing reduced tax rates of 15% and 5% on capital gains and dividends through 2010
- Extending through 2007 the expense allowances for environmental remediation costs (the cost of cleanup of sites where petroleum products have been released or disposed)
Status: Bill passed Bill passed, 66-31
Reference: Tax Relief Extension Reconciliation Act;
Bill HR 4297
; vote number 2006-010
on Feb 2, 2006
Voted YES on extending the tax cuts on capital gains and dividends.
This large piece of legislation (418 pages) includes numerous provisions, generally related to extending the tax cuts initiated by President Bush. This vote was on final passage of the bill. The specific provisions include:
- Extension Of Expiring Provisions: for business expenses, retirement savings contributions, higher education expenses, new markets tax credit, and deducting state and local sales taxes.
- Provisions Relating To Charitable Donations, and Reforming Charitable Organizations
- Improved Accountability of Donor Advised Funds
- Improvements in Efficiency and Safeguards in IRS Collection
Opponents of the bill recommend voting NAY because:
- Health care for children (among many other things) should come before tax cuts for the wealthy.
- The 2-year cost of the extensions on capital gains tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans is $20 billion. So if we defer the tax break the administration is pushing for the wealthiest people in
America, we would have enough money to provide basic health insurance for every uninsured child in America, and we would eliminate 20% of the uninsured Americans with that single act alone.
Proponents of the bill recommend voting YEA because:
Reference: Tax Relief Act of 2005;
Bill S. 2020
; vote number 2005-347
on Nov 18, 2005
- The largest provision in the bill--about $30 billion of tax relief--amounts to half of the net tax package and is designed to keep 14 million people out of the Alternative Minimum Tax. The AMT is terrible and should be repealed.
- College tuition benefits for families who send their kids to college -- by definition, this benefit goes to middle-income families.
- The small savers' credit -- for low-income folks that save through an IRA or pension plan.
- Many small businesses use the small business expensing benefit to buy equipment on an efficient after-tax basis. It is good for small business. It is good for economic growth.
Voted YES on providing tax relief and simplification.
Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004
Reference: Bill sponsored by Bill Rep Thomas [R, CA-22];
; vote number 2004-472
on Sep 23, 2004
- Extension of Family Tax Provisions
- Repeals the scheduled reduction (15 to 10 percent) for taxable years beginning before January 1, 2005, of the refundability of the child tax credit.
- Extends through 2005 the increased exemption from the alternative minimum tax for individual taxpayers.
- Extends through 2005 the following expiring tax provisions:
- the tax credit for increasing research activities;
- the work opportunity tax credit;
- the welfare-to-work tax credit;
- the authority for issuance of qualified zone academy bonds;
- the charitable deduction for donations by corporations of computer technology and equipment used for educational purposes;
- the tax deduction for certain expenses of elementary and secondary school teachers;
- the expensing of environmental remediation costs;
- the designation of a District of Columbia enterprise zone
Voted YES on making permanent an increase in the child tax credit.
Vote to pass a bill that would permanently extend the $1,000 per child tax credit that is scheduled to revert to $700 per child in 2005. It would raise the amount of income a taxpayer may earn before the credit begins to phase out from $75,000 to $125,000 for single individuals and from $110,000 to $250,000 for married couples. It also would permit military personnel to include combat pay in their gross earnings in order to calculate eligibility for the child tax credit.
Reference: Child Credit Preservation and Expansion Act;
Bill HR 4359
; vote number 2004-209
on May 20, 2004
Voted YES on permanently eliminating the marriage penalty.
Vote to pass a bill that would permanently extend tax provisions eliminating the so-called marriage penalty. The bill would make the standard deduction for married couples double that of single taxpayers. It would also increase the upper limit of the 15 percent tax bracket for married couples to twice that of singles. It also would make permanent higher income limits for married couples eligible to receive the refundable earned-income tax credit.
Reference: Marriage Penalty Relief;
Bill HR 4181
; vote number 2004-138
on Apr 28, 2004
Voted YES on making the Bush tax cuts permanent.
Vote to pass a bill that would permanently extend the cuts in last year's $1.35 trillion tax reduction package, many of which are set to expire in 2010. It would extend relief of the marriage penalty, reductions in income tax rates, doubling of the child tax credit, elimination of the estate tax, and the expansion of pension and education provisions. The bill also would revise a variety of Internal Revenue Service tax provisions, including interest, and penalty collection provisions. The penalties would change for the failure to pay estimated taxes; waive minor, first-time error penalties; exclude interest on unintentional overpayments from taxable income; and allow the IRS greater discretion in the disciplining of employees who have violated policies.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Lewis, R-KY;
Bill HR 586
; vote number 2002-103
on Apr 18, 2002
Voted YES on $99 B economic stimulus: capital gains & income tax cuts.
Vote to pass a bill that would grant $99.5 billion in federal tax cuts in fiscal 2002, for businesses and individuals.
The bill would allow more individuals to receive immediate $300 refunds, and lower the capital gains tax rate from 20% to 18%.
Bill HR 3090
; vote number 2001-404
on Oct 24, 2001
Voted YES on Tax cut package of $958 B over 10 years.
Vote to pass a bill that would cut all income tax rates and make other tax cuts of $958.2 billion over 10 years. The bill would convert the five existing tax rate brackets, which range from 15 to 39.6 percent, to a system of four brackets with rates of 10 to 33 percent.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Thomas, R-CA;
Bill HR 1836
; vote number 2001-118
on May 16, 2001
Voted YES on eliminating the Estate Tax ("death tax").
Vote to pass a bill that would gradually reduce revenue by $185.5 billion over 10 years with a repeal of the estate tax by 2011.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Dunn, R-WA;
Bill HR 8
; vote number 2001-84
on Apr 4, 2001
Voted YES on eliminating the "marriage penalty".
Vote on a bill that would reduce taxes for married couple by approximately $195 billion over 10 years by removing provisions that make taxes for married couples higher than those for two single people. The bill is identical to HR 6 that was passed by the House in February, 2000.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Archer, R-TX;
Bill HR 4810
; vote number 2000-392
on Jul 12, 2000
Voted YES on $46 billion in tax cuts for small business.
Provide an estimated $46 billion in tax cuts over five years. Raise the minimum wage by $1 an hour over two years. Reduce estate and gift taxes, grant a full deduction on health insurance for self-employed individuals, increase the deductible percentage of business meal expenses to 60 percent in 2002, and designate 15 renewal communities in urban rural areas.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Lazio, R-NY;
Bill HR 3081
; vote number 2000-41
on Mar 9, 2000
Phaseout the death tax.
Isakson co-sponsored the Death Tax Elimination Act:
Title: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to phaseout the estate and gift taxes over a 10-year period.
Summary: Repeals, effective January 1, 2011, current provisions relating to the basis of property acquired from a decedent. Provides with respect to property acquired from a decedent dying on January 1, 2011, or later that:
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR8 on Mar 14, 2001
- property shall be treated as transferred by gift; and
- the basis of the person acquiring the property shall be the lesser of the adjusted basis of the decedent or the fair market value of the property at the date of the decedent's death.
- Requires specified information to be reported concerning non-cash assets over $1.3 million transferred at death and certain gifts exceeding $25,000.
- Makes the exclusion of gain on the sale of a principal residence available to heirs.
- Revises current provisions concerning the transfer of farm real to provide that gain on such
exchange shall be recognized to the estate only to the extent that the fair market value of such property exceeds such value on the date of death.
- Provides a similar rule for certain trusts.
- Amends the special rules for allocation of the generation-skipping tax (GST) exemption to provide that if any individual makes an indirect skip during such individual's lifetime, any unused portion of such individual's GST exemption shall be allocated to the property transferred to the extent necessary to make the inclusion ratio for such property zero; and
- if the amount of the indirect skip exceeds such unused portion, the entire unused portion shall be allocated to the property transferred.
- Provides that, if an allocation of the GST exemption to any transfers of property is deemed to have been made at the close of an estate tax inclusion period, the value of the property shall be its value at such time.
Abolish IRS--replace income tax with national sales tax.
Isakson co-sponsored the Fair Tax Act to abolish the IRS
A bill to promote freedom, fairness, and economic opportunity by repealing the income tax and other taxes, abolishing the Internal Revenue Service, and enacting a national sales tax to be administered primarily by the States. The Fair Tax Act of 2003 amends the Internal Revenue Code to repeal subtitle A (Income Taxes), B (Estate and Gift Taxes), and C (Employment Taxes) of the Internal Revenue Code. Imposes a tax on the use or consumption of taxable property or services. Sets the tax rate at 23 percent for the calendar year 2005. Sets the rate, for years after 2005, at the combined sum of the general revenue rate (14.91 percent), the old-age survivors and disability rate, and the hospital insurance rate. Senate bill S.1493 is identical to House bill HR.25.
Source: Bill sponsored by 2 Senators and 55 Reps 03-S1493 on Jul 30, 2003
Rated 65% by NTU, indicating "Satisfactory" on tax votes.
Isakson scores 65% by NTU on tax-lowering policies
Every year National Taxpayers Union (NTU) rates U.S. Representatives and Senators on their actual votes—every vote that significantly affects taxes, spending, debt, and regulatory burdens on consumers and taxpayers. NTU assigned weights to the votes, reflecting the importance of each vote’s effect. NTU has no partisan axe to grind. All Members of Congress are treated the same regardless of political affiliation. Our only constituency is the overburdened American taxpayer. Grades are given impartially, based on the Taxpayer Score. The Taxpayer Score measures the strength of support for reducing spending and regulation and opposing higher taxes. In general, a higher score is better because it means a Member of Congress voted to lessen or limit the burden on taxpayers.
The Taxpayer Score can range between zero and 100. We do not expect anyone to score a 100, nor has any legislator ever scored a perfect 100 in the multi-year history of the comprehensive NTU scoring system. A high score does not mean that the Member of Congress was opposed to all spending or all programs. High-scoring Members have indicated that they would vote for many programs if the amount of spending were lower. A Member who wants to increase spending on some programs can achieve a high score if he or she votes for offsetting cuts in other programs. A zero score would indicate that the Member of Congress approved every spending proposal and opposed every pro-taxpayer reform.
Source: NTU website 03n-NTU on Dec 31, 2003
Rated 0% by the CTJ, indicating opposition to progressive taxation.
Isakson scores 0% by the CTJ on taxationissues
OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 CTJ scores as follows:
About CTJ (from their website, www.ctj.org):
- 0% - 20%: opposes progressive taxation (approx. 235 members)
- 21% - 79%: mixed record on progressive taxation (approx. 39 members)
- 80%-100%: favors progressive taxation (approx. 190 members)
Citizens for Tax Justice, founded in 1979, is not-for-profit public interest research and advocacy organization focusing on federal, state and local tax policies and their impact upon our nation. CTJ's mission is to give ordinary people a greater voice in the development of tax laws.
Against the armies of special interest lobbyists for corporations and the wealthy, CTJ fights for:
Source: CTJ website 06n-CTJ on Dec 31, 2006
- Fair taxes for middle and low-income families
- Requiring the wealthy to pay their fair share
- Closing corporate tax loopholes
- Adequately funding important government services
- Reducing the federal debt
- Taxation that minimizes distortion of economic markets
Replace income tax & employment tax with FairTax.
Isakson signed H.R.25 & S.296
Source: Fair Tax Act 09-HR25 on Jan 6, 2009
- Repeals the income tax, employment tax, and estate and gift tax.
- Imposes a national sales tax on the use or consumption in the United States of taxable property or services.
- Sets the sales tax rate at 23% in 2011, with adjustments to the rate in subsequent years.
- Allows exemptions from the tax for property or services purchased for business, export, or investment purposes, and for state government functions.
- Prohibits the funding of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) after FY2013.
- Establishes in the Department of the Treasury: (1) an Excise Tax Bureau to administer excise taxes not administered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF); and (2) a Sales Tax Bureau to administer the national sales tax.
- Terminates the sales tax imposed by this Act if the Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (authorizing an income tax) is not repealed within seven years after the enactment of this Act.
Taxpayer Protection Pledge: no new taxes.
Isakson signed Americans for Tax Reform "Taxpayer Protection Pledge"
Politicians often run for office saying they won't raise taxes, but then quickly turn their backs on the taxpayer. The idea of the Pledge is simple enough: Make them put their no-new-taxes rhetoric in writing.
In the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, candidates and incumbents solemnly bind themselves to oppose any and all tax increases. While ATR has the role of promoting and monitoring the Pledge, the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is actually made to a candidate's constituents, who are entitled to know where candidates stand before sending them to the capitol. Since the Pledge is a prerequisite for many voters, it is considered binding as long as an individual holds the office for which he or she signed the Pledge.
Since its rollout with the endorsement of President Reagan in 1986, the pledge has become de rigeur for Republicans seeking office, and is a necessity for Democrats running in Republican districts.
Source: Americans for Tax Reform "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" 10-ATR on Aug 12, 2010
Adopt a single-rate tax system.
Isakson signed the Contract From America
The Contract from America, clause 4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform:
Adopt a simple and fair single-rate tax system by scrapping the internal revenue code and replacing it with one that is no longer than 4,543 words--the length of the original Constitution.
Source: The Contract From America 10-CFA04 on Jul 8, 2010
Repeal tax hikes in capital gains and death tax.
Isakson signed the Contract From America
The Contract from America, clause 10. Stop the Tax Hikes:
Permanently repeal all tax hikes, including those to the income, capital gains, and death taxes, currently scheduled to begin in 2011.
Source: The Contract From America 10-CFA10 on Jul 8, 2010
Replace income tax & estate tax with 23% sales tax.
Isakson co-sponsored Fair Tax Act of 2011
Congress finds the Federal income tax--
- retards economic growth and has reduced the standard of living
- impedes the international competitiveness of US industry
- reduces savings and investment by taxing income multiple times
- slows the capital formation necessary for real wages to steadily increase
- lowers productivity
- imposes unacceptable and unnecessary administrative and compliance costs
- is unfair and inequitable
- unnecessarily intrudes upon the privacy and civil rights of US citizens
- impedes upward social mobility.
Findings Relating to National Sales Tax- Congress finds further that a broad-based national sales tax on goods and services purchased for final consumption--
- is similar in many respects to the sales and use taxes in place in 45 of the 50 States
- will promote savings and investment
- will promote fairness
- will promote economic growth
- will raise the standard of living
- will increase investment
- will enhance productivity and international competitiveness
- will reduce administrative burdens on the American taxpayer
- will improve upward social mobility; and
- will respect the privacy interests and civil rights of taxpayers.
REPEAL OF THE INCOME TAX, PAYROLL TAXES, AND ESTATE AND GIFT TAXES
Source: H.R.25 11-HR025 on Jan 5, 2011
- Subtitle A of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to income taxes and self-employment taxes) is repealed.
- Subtitle C of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to payroll taxes and withholding of income taxes) is repealed.
- Funding of Social Security Trust Funds [will be] from general revenue
- Subtitle B of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to estate and gift taxes) is repealed.
- IMPOSITION OF SALES TAX: There is hereby imposed a tax on the use or consumption in the US of taxable property or services.
- In the calendar year 2013, the rate of tax is 23% of the gross payments for the taxable property or service.
Supports the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.
Isakson signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge against raising taxes
[The ATR, Americans for Tax Reform, run by conservative lobbyist Grover Norquist, ask legislators to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in each election cycle. Their self-description:]
In the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, candidates and incumbents solemnly bind themselves to oppose any and all tax increases. Since its rollout in 1986, the pledge has become de rigeur for Republicans seeking office, and is a necessity for Democrats running in Republican districts. Today the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is offered to every candidate for state office and to all incumbents. More than 1,100 state officeholders, from state representative to governor, have signed the Pledge.
The Taxpayer Protection Pledge: "I pledge to the taxpayers of my district and to the American people that I will: ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar
for dollar by further reducing tax rates."
Opponents' Opinion (from wikipedia.com):In Nov. 2011, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) claimed that Congressional Republicans "are being led like puppets by Grover Norquist. They're giving speeches that we should compromise on our deficit, but never do they compromise on Grover Norquist. He is their leader." Since Norquist's pledge binds signatories to opposing deficit reduction agreements that include any element of increased tax revenue, some Republican deficit hawks now retired from office have stated that Norquist has become an obstacle to deficit reduction. Former Republican Senator Alan Simpson, co-chairman of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, has been particularly critical, describing Norquist's position as "no taxes, under any situation, even if your country goes to hell."
Source: Taxpayer Protection Pledge 12-ATR on Jan 1, 2012
Replace income tax and IRS with FairTax.
Isakson co-sponsored H.R.25 & S.155
Congressional Summary: This bill imposes a national sales tax in lieu of the current income and corporate income tax, employment taxes, and estate and gift taxes. The rate of the sales tax will be 23% in 2017, with adjustments in subsequent years. U.S. residents receive a monthly sales tax rebate (Family Consumption Allowance) based upon family size and poverty guidelines. No funding is allowed for the operations of the Internal Revenue Service after FY2019. Finally, the FairTax terminates if the 16th Amendment to the Constitution (authorizing an income tax) is not repealed within 7 years.
Supporters reasons for voting YEA: Rep. MORAN: I am all on board on tax reform, but the best solution is not tinkering with the current system; it is an overhaul of the current Tax Code. The FairTax, in my view, brings two goals front and center: to pass on to the next generation of Americans the freedoms and liberties guaranteed by our Constitution, and the
opportunity for every American to live the American dream.
Opponents reasons for voting NAY: (by FairTaxWarrior.com):
Source: FairTax Act sponsored by 6 Senators and 64 Reps 15_S155 on Jan 13, 2015
Criticisms from The Left
- The FairTax rate is really 30%, not the 23% proponents say.
- It's an additional national sales tax.
- It's really just a windfall tax cut for the rich.
- A sales tax is regressive, and punishes the poor unfairly.
- It's just a scheme to let corporations escape paying taxes.
Criticisms from The Right:
- The FairTax does nothing to cut government spending.
- The 23% rate is too high.
- It 's the largest welfare increase in history [via the Family Consumption Allowance]
- The FairTax will negatively impact the housing market [by removing the mortgage deduction].
- Black market activity will increase.
- The IRS won't really be abolished.
- The Flat (Income) Tax is a better option.
- It will be a nightmare to transition to The FairTax from an Income Tax.
Keep reduction of capital gains tax.
Isakson signed Amendment to Jobs Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act
A bill to repeal the sunset on the reduction of capital gains rates for individuals and on the taxation of dividends of individuals at capital gains rates.
Repeals the termination date in the Jobs Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 for provisions reducing individual tax rates on capital gains and dividend income.
Source: S.567 2009-S567 on Mar 11, 2009
Implement socially fair, broad-based tax cuts.
Isakson adopted the Republican Main Street Partnership issue stance:
Not only has the Republican-led Congress achieved a balanced budget for the first time since 1969, but it has also created a budget surplus -- a feat not previously even imaginable. It is currently projected that the Fiscal Year 1999 budget surplus will be along the order of some $80 billion, of which $66 billion is earmarked for Social Security. This envious state of affairs would seem to indicate that equitable, far-reaching tax reductions may be in order -- not as an ideological or political strategy, but as a primary element of an economic growth policy and a legitimate tool for holding down unnecessary government growth in times of surplus.
The United States is enjoying steady economic prosperity thanks in no small measure to prudent fiscal policies implemented by the Republican-led Congress. However, we must look not only at the positive side of the economy but also at the problems the economy faces -- at the present time and into the twenty-first century. Limiting government spending (i.e., spending caps) is a good beginning to address some difficulties. In addition, current and future Congresses should maintain a balanced federal budget, pay down the national debt (which will help protect Social Security for current and future generations), redefine the federal government's role in the society and, finally, think about fair tax reductions for the American people and the businesses that drive our economy. [We need] an evaluation of implementing tax cuts based on their social fairness.
Source: Republican Main St. Partnership Issue Paper: Fiscal Policy 98-RMSP6 on Sep 9, 1998
Other candidates on Tax Reform:
Johnny Isakson on other issues:
Keisha Lance Bottoms
Senate races 2019-20:
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Page last updated: Jul 14, 2020