What Every Democratic Presidential Candidate Has to Say about Taxes (Part 1)

Let’s get political. Well, not too political—just about a presidential candidate or twenty. We’re tax resolution specialists, not political consultants.

On the other hand, we’re realists. While other issues may come and go, there truly is almost nothing more certain in the U.S. than taxes.

Nonetheless, taxes are about as much of a hot-button issue as just about anything else you can think of. Hopefully, though, we can all agree that it’s better to be informed about tax policies—and how they can affect you—than staying in the dark.

With that in mind, we turn our attention to this week’s democratic presidential primary debates. There were a whole lot of voices on that stage, and it’s kind of hard to get a thorough understanding of every single issue a candidate may have.

Whether you watched or didn’t, and whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, Independent, or something else entirely—we’re here to give you a full rundown of where the twenty candidates stand regarding tax policy.

We have a lot of ground to cover. Let’s get started with night one’s candidates:

Each Democratic Presidential Candidate – Debate Night 1

There are a lot of unique takes on taxes in the wide field of candidates in the running right now, but a few (relatively) common threads. For example, a number of democratic candidates have targeted portions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, such as tax cuts for the businesses and the wealthiest taxpayers.

Here are a few more proposed tax policies from candidates of night one!

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. Senator from Minnesota

Klobuchar addressed taxes in her announcement speech:

“We should close those tax loopholes designed by and for the wealthy and bring down our debt and make it easier for workers to afford childcare, housing, and education.”

Unsure what she means? Look to her 2018 work on the Removing Incentives for Outsourcing Act, which attempted to close a tax loophole allowing U.S. companies to minimize their tax obligation by outsourcing jobs.

Cory Booker

U.S. Senator from New Jersey

A primary focus of Booker’s policy is on helping poor Americans with higher taxes on the rich. He proposed a bill to create savings accounts for all American children by increasing the capital gains and estate taxes, which would primarily affect the wealthy.

Julián Castro

Fmr. HUD Secretary, Fmr. Mayor of San Antonio, TX

Castro’s work in the Department of Housing and Urban Development may influence some of his position regarding taxes. He has said he supports raising the corporate tax rate and wants to ensure companies pay “their fair share.”

Bill de Blasio

New York City Mayor

We can turn to de Blasio’s words during Wednesday’s debate for his view on taxes, when he said, “Yes, we are supposed to be for a 70 percent tax rate on the wealthy.” So de Blasio seems to have a very progressive tax on the wealthiest taxpayers.

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. Senator from Massachusetts

Warren is probably one of the most progressive candidates in terms of tax policy, and has proposed an additional (on top of income taxes) 3 percent tax on taxpayers with a net worth of more than $1 billion; she also proposes a 2 percent annual tax on Americans with more than $50 million in assets.

Beto O’Rourke

Fmr. U.S. Representative from Texas

Probably the most unique tax policy O’Rourke has proposed thus far is a “war tax,” which would tax families ($25 annually for households making less than $25,000 and $1,000 annually for households making over $200,000) whenever the U.S. goes to war. This money would be directed to benefit veterans.

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. Representative from Hawaii

Gabbard is one of a few candidates who have denounced Republican tax cuts—namely, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which have been criticized by detractors as ultimately benefiting the wealthy.

Jay Inslee

Governor of Washington

Inslee’s campaign is pretty focused on climate, so to get a sense of his tax policy, we should look as his work as Governor of Washington. Last year, his budget included a tax on capital gains, a raise in business taxes, and changes to real estate excise taxes.

Tim Ryan

U.S. Representative from Ohio

Since announcing his run as a presidential candidate, Ryan hasn’t spoken too much on tax policy—but his work as a U.S. Representative can shed some light. He has expressed interest in eliminating special interest tax breaks for corporations, moving tax liability from corporations to owners and shareholders. He has also said meaningful tax reform would include a $1 trillion expansion of the earned income tax credit.

John Delaney

Fmr. U.S. Representative from Maryland

Delaney’s stated tax goals are similar to Gabbard’s. For example, he’s opposed the Republican tax cuts expressed within the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. He favors increasing the marginal tax rate and estate taxes, while opposing certain other taxes.

Stay Tuned, Stay Informed

The best chance you have at affecting the tax policies that affect you is by staying invested in what politicians say about taxes—before what they say becomes the law of the land.

Regardless of your political affiliation or which presidential candidate you’re rooting for, we hope you’ve found this roundup useful. And we hope you’ll stick around for part two!

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