Romney's tax suggestion gives more clarity, but details still sparse
Mitt Romney this week offered some more insight into his tax reform plan, but not enough to fully understand how his agenda may impact voters' payments to the IRS or the federal deficit.
In an interview with Denver TV station KDVR on Monday, Romney suggested capping federal income tax deductions at $17,000. "And you could use your charitable deduction, your home mortgage deduction, or others -- your health care deduction, and you can fill that bucket, if you will, that $17,000 bucket that way," he said. "And higher income people might have a lower number."
The idea was merely a suggestion and doesn't represent a formal policy proposal from the Republican candidate. It does, however, give some insight into how Romney might pay for the revenue losses that would come from his proposed tax cuts -- which could reach as high as $456 billion in 2015 if current policies are kept in place.
"It is at least a down payment on the revenue lost to the rate cuts," Robertson Williams, an analyst at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, told CBSNews.com.
Still, there are some major unknowns: For instance, to determine how large that down payment would be, Romney would have to give some more specifics, such as whether that $17,000 cap applies to individuals or couples.
In tonight's debate, President Obama is sure to drive home the fact that Romney's tax reform plan has so far been short on details. Romney has promised to cut income tax rates by 20 percent across the board, repeal the estate tax, and get rid of taxes in investment income for those making up to $200,000. While he has said the tax cuts would be offset in part by eliminating deductions and loopholes, he has not clarified what deductions and loopholes he would eliminate.
In email to supporters Wednesday, Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter wrote, "We'll see if Mitt Romney finds some time in tonight's 90-minute debate to tell us specifically how he can avoid raising taxes on middle-class families and still pay for another $250,000 tax cut for multimillionaires."
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