By Peter Marcus, DENVER DAILY NEWS
A potential political showdown over whether to permanently extend tax cuts, even for the wealthy, will likely follow the national trend and split down party lines here in Colorado, though some Republicans say they are open to a temporary compromise.
U.S. House Republican leader John Boehner said yesterday that Republicans plan on pushing for extending the tax cuts permanently, even for the wealthiest 3 percent of Americans.
Of contention is whether to allow tax cuts from former Republican President George W. Bush’s era expire that affect America’s wealthiest taxpayers.
Democrats have called for letting the tax cuts expire at the end of the year, while extending lower tax rates for individuals earning less than $200,000 and families earning less than $250,000.
It originally appeared like Republicans might compromise by backing a temporary extension of the lower tax rates for everyone, then taking the issue up again at a later time, possibly before the 2012 elections.
But Boehner made it clear yesterday that the majority of Republicans are not considering such a compromise.
“I think that extending all of the current tax rates, and making them permanent, will reduce the uncertainty in America, and help small businesses to create jobs again …” said Boehner. “That’s why making these permanent will be the most important thing we can do to help create jobs in the country.”
U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., has suggested extending all the lower tax rates for one year simply to start a discussion.
“Michael’s priority is a long-term extension of the middle class tax cuts. He has suggested a compromise that would extend all tax cuts for one year, which would allow for a real conversation on how we pay for them and how we can retool our tax code to drive innovation and keep jobs in America,” said Michael Amodeo, Bennet’s spokesman. “We need both parties to put aside the politics and work together to get the job done for the American people.”
Many Republicans, however, do not seem open to the compromise. Republican Congressman-elect Scott Tipton, who will be replacing Congressman John Salazar, D-Manassa, said his priority is on a permanent extension of the tax cuts, including those for the wealthy.
“One of the things that was made very clear during the campaign and ultimately decided in the election was that the voters feel that jobs are of utmost importance. In order to stimulate the economy, small businesses need certainty in regards to the tax policy; therefore, an extension of the Bush tax cuts is important, and I would like to ultimately see them made permanent,” Tipton told the Denver Daily News via e-mail.
Congressman Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, is one Republican who said he is open to a temporary compromise.
“Raising taxes on small businesses anytime, and particularly in a recession, will be damaging to economic investment and job creation. I strongly support a permanent extension of all the current tax rates. However, something is better than nothing, and I would support a two-year extension if that proposal comes to a vote. Should that be the case, I will fight to make that temporary extension permanent,” Coffman said via e-mail.
A spokeswoman for Republican Congressman-elect Cory Gardner, who will be replacing Congresswoman Betsy Markey, D-Fort Collins, said he is advocating for a permanent extension.
But Congressman Ed Perlmutter, D-Lakewood, said he cannot support a permanent tax extension for the wealthy.
“I support permanently extending the tax cuts for the middle-class and not for people making over $250,000,” he said via e-mail. “I do not support permanently extending the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.”
Spokespeople for U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette, D-Denver, and Jared Polis, D-Boulder, did not immediately return requests for comment. A spokeswoman for Congressman Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, said he was unavailable yesterday to immediately comment. A spokeswoman for U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., did not return a request for comment.