Two Perspectives on Tax Day

By Beacon Staff

It’s Tax Day in America! And, not surprisingly, Montana’s U.S. delegation differs on whether you’re getting ripped off.

Democratic Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester sent out e-mails reminding their constituents that middle class taxes are at historic lows. From Tester’s office:

“Some folks are out there telling people taxes on the middle class somehow went up by millions of dollars last year, but it’s time for the rhetoric to meet reality,” Tester said. “The reality is we cut taxes on the middle class last year. In fact, 99 percent of Montanans saw a tax cut last year – averaging more than a thousand dollars each. We’re working hard to cut taxes because it’s a strong way to help rebuild our economy and put folks back to work.”

Baucus listed a litany of tax cuts and took the opportunity to highlight health care reform legislation. From his office:

“I’m committed to doing everything I can to continue keeping Montanans’ taxes low,” Baucus said. “We’ve passed tax cuts for thousands of people – homeowners, military members, small businesses, families and students.”

The health care reform law that Baucus wrote includes tax cuts for families and small businesses to ensure affordable health insurance is available to Montanans.

Republican Congressman Denny Rehberg was a little more bleak. He listed taxes that will increase at the end of the year if Congress doesn’t act, including capital gains and child tax credits. His statement:

“While our economy is struggling to recover and our nation is bleeding jobs, higher taxes are making the problem even worse. Since January of 2009 Congress has increased taxes by $670 billion which is more than $2,100 for each man, woman and child in America. Now is the time to cut taxes to empower consumers and small businesses, but instead Congress has done just the opposite. It’s no wonder that unemployment has skyrocketed to around ten percent and has not shown any signs of declining.”

Critics point to a skyrocketing deficit and inevitable future tax increases, but this year Americans are actually paying far less to Uncle Sam than they have in the past. From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON — You wouldn’t know it by the Tax Day rhetoric, but Americans are paying lower taxes this year, even with increases passed by many states to balance their budgets. Don’t expect it to last.

Congress cut individuals’ federal taxes for this year by about $173 billion shortly after President Barack Obama took office, dwarfing the $28.6 billion in increases by states.

And, according to the Tax Policy Center, taxes are at their lowest levels in 60 years. In the coming years, however, that is expected to change, especially for those making more than $200,000 annually.

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