Romney Talks of Ending Some Tax Deductions for Wealthy, NY Times


People continue to wonder how we will cut our deficit which is currently running over $1 trillion/year.  In the following article, Romney gives some clues as to what he is thinking regarding raising revenues and cutting expenses.  One idea in particular could harm our local economy.  Romney says he will consider eliminating tax deductions for wealthy second home owners.  He doesn’t give details of his idea but it probably includes not allowing folks to deduct interest payments on second homes.

Terry

By MICHAEL D. SHEAR

Mitt Romney inadvertently offered a public preview of some of his economic plans on Sunday, revealing to high-dollar donors at a private fund-raising event that he wants to eliminate tax deductions for wealthy people who own second homes.

Mr. Romney’s comments were overheard by reporters standing outside the event on a sidewalk and first reported by The Wall Street Journal and NBC News. During the event, Mr. Romney also told the donors that he might eliminate the Department of Housing and Urban Development and reduce the size of the Education Department.

Mr. Romney told the donors that the housing agency “might not be around later” and said the Education Department would be “a heck of a lot smaller” even if it wasn’t eliminated altogether, The Journal reported.

“I’m going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them. Some eliminate, but I’m probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go,” Mr. Romney said, according to NBC. “Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later. But I’m not going to actually go through these one by one. What I can tell you is, we’ve got far too many bureaucrats. I will send a lot of what happens in Washington back to the states.”

The overheard comments offer a first glimpse of the kind of specific policies that Mr. Romney might pursue as president. Publicly, Mr. Romney has hinted that he would limit deductions for wealthy homeowners,  but has not said how he might do that. And in his remarks Sunday, he also hinted that he might curtail deductions for state and property taxes for the wealthy.

And Mr. Romney has resisted offering many details about the cuts to government spending that would allow him to achieve the kind of deficit reductions he has projected considering the cuts in taxes that he has talked about.

Officials with the Republican campaign said Mr. Romney was just tossing out ideas at the fund-raiser, not unveiling new policies. They accused Democrats of using the incident to try to distract attention from the economic situation under President Obama.

“While President Obama is interested only in offering excuses and blaming others for his failures, Governor Romney is discussing some of the ideas he has to tackle the big issues facing America,” said Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Mr. Romney. “Governor Romney has also laid out a bold set of policy proposals that will grow our economy, cut spending and get our massive debt under control.”

At the fundraiser, Mr Romney and his wife, Ann, offered candid and casual observations that did not appear intended for wider public consumption. Mr. Romney, instance, remarked that Fox News was watched by “true believers,” and that the party needed to broaden its appeal to women and independents, according to the NBC account. And Mrs. Romney said she “loved” the fallout generated when a Democratic political operative say that Mrs. Romney had “never worked a day in her life.”

“It was my early birthday present for someone to be critical of me as a mother, and that was really a defining moment,” NBC quoted her as saying.

Mr. Obama’s campaign quickly pounced on the remarks, describing Mr. Romney as willing to reveal his intentions only to well-connected donors, not to the public.

“Apparently, Governor Romney believes only high-dollar donors have a right to know what programs he will cut,” wrote Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for Mr. Obama’s campaign, in an e-mail to reporters. “Education. Housing. To pay for $5 trillion tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.”

Democrats have already been trying to convince voters that Mr. Romney is hiding things from voters. They point to the fact that Mr. Romney has not identified his “bundlers,” the handful of donors who gather up contributions from their wealthy friends. And they have criticized Mr. Romney for releasing only two years of tax returns.

An e-mail Monday morning from Brad Woodhouse, the communications director for the Democratic National Committee, was headlined: “In case you’re keeping count at home: Things Mitt Romney Hides.”

To that list, Mr. Woodhouse added, “Now we learn policies he’d pursue as president (unless you’re a high-dollar donor, of course).”

The Romney campaign quickly sought to play down the new proposals on Monday, suggesting that the candidate was simply bouncing around a few ideas with donors, not laying out new policy.

During a Romney campaign conference call focused on President Obama’s tax proposals, former Senator James M. Talent of Missouri said Mr. Romney “was discussing ideas that came up at the meeting, which happens a lot when you are on the stump or doing interviews with the press.”

When it became clear that questions from the news media about Mr. Romney’s remarks at the Florida fund-raiser would dominate the conference call, an aide to Mr. Romney ended the session after three questions.

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  1. Mitt inadvertently tips his hand to sharp-eared journalists | Unzipping the Mitt
  2. Romney Talks of Ending Some Tax Deductions for Wealthy – NYTimes.com « Ye Olde Soapbox

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