COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Mike Gibbons, a leading Republican candidate for the Ohio Senate, said at a media event last fall that middle-class Americans pay “no fair share” of income taxes.
“The top 20% in the United States pay 82% of federal income tax – and if you count that and 45% to 50% pay no income tax, you can see that the middle class doesn’t really pay any fair share, depending on from how you want to define it, ”said Gibbons.
The comments of Gibbons, a millionaire investment banker from Cleveland, were featured in the September episode of the podcast “The Landscape” by Crain’s Cleveland Business. However, they could resonate after Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, a potential presidential candidate in 2024, unveiled a government plan in February that divided the party over its call for tax cuts for millions of Americans who don’t earn enough to to pay federal income taxes.
Scott, who is campaigning Republicans in the Senate, said paying even a small tax would give poor people a “skin in the game” to increase their interest and involvement in how they spend tax dollars.
Other leading Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, distanced themselves from Scott’s proposal because they feared the prospect of raising taxes for lower-income Americans could trigger Democrat election attacks.
Campaign spokeswoman Samantha Cotten said on Friday that Gibbons had pledged not to raise taxes on individuals or businesses.
“Mike Gibbons does not support tax increases for any American – and he never did,” she said in a statement. “Mike is a businessman, not a career politician, and understands the economy and how to implement smart ideas and strategies that will benefit all Americans.”
Before the May 3, however, Republican rivals are trying to use comments against Gibbons. One opponent, Republican Mark Pukita, has had it on his YouTube page with the headline “Tax Hike Mike Gibbons” for the past three weeks.
Asked about Scott’s plan during a Republican Senate debate last week, former Ohio Republican president Jane Timken said she was against his proposal to raise taxes for the middle class, while Hillbilly Elegy JD Vance said the Republican party must stand up. for the “middle class”. class people who are able to start a family and make it from one income. ”
In the video, Gibbons is portrayed behind the scenes of the campaign, criticizing the Democrats for promoting an “absolutely false” story that “the middle class is in trouble and the rich, the elite, cheating everyone” because “they need the middle class to win. elections. ” He says he has no problem with the “progressive structure of the tax system”, but notes that the rich already pay a lot of taxes.
Gibbons asks, “How much of a nation’s total tax expenditure can a very small percentage pay and still be a democracy?”
Democrats have spent most of the decade pushing for higher taxes for the best-earned people, and they are likely to do so this year as well.
President Joe Biden has included a “minimum billionaire income tax” in his draft budget for 2023. When announcing the tax proposal, the Democrat claimed that “the firefighter and the teacher pay more than twice” the tax rate paid by the billionaire.
According to an analysis by the Internal Revenue Service in 2019, the latest available from the Fiscal Conservative Tax Foundation, 10% of Americans earn 47.3% of reported income and pay 70.9% of income taxes. The lowest 50% of American earners say 11.5% of income and pay 3.1% of taxes. This leaves the middle 40% of Americans earning 41.2% of their income and paying 26.1% of their income taxes.
The Center for Budget and Political Priorities, a left-wing think tank, argues that such figures do not reflect a significant amount of wealth among high-income Americans who are protected from taxation or taxed at lower rates than earning people.