Hillary Clinton:

  • Supports raising taxes on carried interest, such as compensation collected by hedge fund managers, which is taxed at a lower rate than ordinary income, and she backs imposing the Buffett Rule — named for Clinton supporter and famed businessman Warren Buffett — to make sure that millionaires pay higher tax rates on their income than typical Americans.
  • Encourage long-term investing by raising capital gains taxes for couples making more than $450,000 a year, on assets held for a less than two years. Those investments would be taxed at the highest rate and would decrease the longer they are held, down to 20 percent after six years.
  • Voted for a bill to “repeal the tax subsidy for American businesses that relocate jobs and manufacturing operations overseas.
  • Voted for S.2020 – the Tax Relief Act of 2005, which would have extended tax cuts and created “tax benefits for areas affected by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.
  • Voted for S.150 – the Internet Tax Nondiscrimination Act, which extended “the ban on State taxation of Internet access and on multiple or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce until November 1, 2007.” It became law on December 3, 2004.
  • Voted for H.R.1308 – the Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004. It became law on October 4, 2004.
  • Voted against H.R.2 – the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 and H.R.1836 – the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, which are also known as the Bush tax cuts.
  • Clinton did not sign the Americans for Tax Reform Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

Bernie Sanders:

  • Raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans and corporations if he were elected. Sanders said, “Yes, we have to raise individual tax rates substantially higher than they are today because almost all of the new income is going to the top 1%. And yes, those folks and large corporations will have to pay under a Sanders administration more in taxes so that we can use that revenue to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, create the jobs we need, make sure that every kid who has the ability is able to get a college education in America because public colleges and public universities will be tuition-free.
  • A progressive estate tax on multi-millionaires and billionaires is the fairest way to reduce wealth inequality, lower our $17 trillion national debt and raise the resources we need for investments in infrastructure, education and other neglected national priorities.
  • Voted against S.Amdt. 297 to S.Con.Res. 8, which proposed repealing the tax on medical devices.
  • Filibustered the Bush tax cuts for “more than 8 1/2 hours,” according to The Los Angeles Times.
  • Voted against H.R.3709 – the Internet Nondiscrimination Act of 2000, which proposed prohibiting “a State or political subdivision from imposing: (1) taxes on Internet access.

Martin O’ Malley:

  • Pushed for tax increases to fund his priorities such as investment in education and to prevent cuts due to the downturn in the broader national economy at the time.
  • Taxes and fees raised under O’Malley’s watch included a three-year surcharge on the income of the state’s millionaires that expired in 2011.
  • Signed House Bill 1515, which raised the gas tax.
  • Raised “income taxes, alcohol taxes, hospital taxes, and tobacco taxes. …For singles earning more than $100,000 and couples earning more than $150,000, the top income tax rate was raised to 5.75 percent. Local taxes in Maryland bring the total top income tax rate to 8.95 percent. O’Malley’s legislation also reduced personal exemptions under the income tax.
  • Signed a $1.4 billion package of tax increases. It included increases in corporate taxes, personal income taxes, sales taxes, and cigarette taxes.

Donald Trump:

  • Remove the federal income tax for individuals earning less than $25,000 and couples earning less than $50,000, reduce the highest individual income tax rate from 39.6 percent to 25 percent and cut corporate taxes to no higher than 15 percent.
  • Take carried interest out, and I would let people making hundreds of millions of dollars-a-year pay some tax, because right now they are paying very little tax and I think it’s outrageous. I want to lower taxes for the middle class.
  • Hedge fund managers were “getting away with murder” and should pay higher taxes. “They’re paying nothing and it’s ridiculous. I want to save the middle class. The hedge fund guys didn’t build this country. These are guys that shift paper around and they get lucky.
  • A five-part tax plan that defined four income tax brackets determining whether you pay 1 percent, 5 percent, 10 percent or 15 percent of your income. The plan also called for the end of the death tax, a lower tax on capital gains and dividends, the elimination of corporate taxes and a 20 percent import tax.
  • A flat tax “unfair to the poor” and “unfair to workers” in his 2000 book, The America We Deserve. Trump stated, “Only the wealthy would reap a windfall, because a flat tax would allow them to cash in interest payments and capital gains without paying personal income taxes.
  • A one-time net worth tax of 14.25 percent on individuals and trusts worth more than $10 million. He asserted this tax would raised enough money to wipe out the national debt.

Ben Carson:

  • “You make $10 billion, you pay a billion. You make $10, you pay one [dollar]. [Of] course I would get rid of all the deductions and all of the loopholes but here’s the key, people, they look at a guy who put in a billion dollars, he’s got $9 billion left, that’s not fair — we need to take more of his money. That’s called socialism. And what made America … a great nation was we had a very different attitude. We would say he just put in a billion dollars, let’s create an environment  that’s even better for him so that next year he can make $20 billion and put in $2 billion. That’s how we went from nowhere to the pinnacle of the world in record time. And it’s growth, it’s not taking what’s there and dividing it up and making it smaller,” he said.
  • Flat-tax rate would remain revenue-neutral.
  • “It would have to be somewhere between 10 and 15 percent, early on probably higher, over the course of time lower,” he said.
  • “We spent over $19 trillion eradicating poverty. Has it worked? You know we have 10 times more people on food stamps, more poverty, incarceration, crime, broken families, out of wedlock births, everything that was supposed to get better is not only worse — it’s much worse… What we do know that works is that [when] people take an interest in other people and they invest in them and personal relationships develop — that’s what brings people out of poverty,” he said.

Marco Rubio:

  • Called for an 80 percent cut in the 18.4 cents-per-gallon gas tax that pays for most federal transportation projects. He also promised to veto any gas tax if elected president, in a post on his campaign website. Rubio said the federal transportation program would be replaced by devolving the system to the states, which take the lead on financing transportation projects. He also would repeal the Davis-Bacon Act that requires workers to be paid prevailing wages on projects funded with federal dollars.
  • Elimination of capital gains taxes in an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood in August 2015. “First of all, capital gains and dividends is investment. My father had a job as a bartender at a hotel. And the reason why he had a job as a bartender is because someone with money invested in that hotel. That’s why he had a salary, and that’s why he had tips. … Anything you tax, you’re gonna get less of. That’s why we tax cigarettes, because we don’t want people to smoke. We want more investment. Why would we tax it?
  • Introduced his tax overhaul plan on March 4, 2015 as a Senate bill. It was cosponsored with U.S. Sen.Mike Lee (R-Utah). The proposal would reduce the number of brackets from seven to three: 15%, 25%, and 35% and eliminate all exemptions and deductions, except for a charitable contribution deduction and a reformed home mortgage interest deduction. Instead, taxpayers would receive a personal tax credit that phases out for higher-income Americans. The plan would cuts corporate tax rates for all businesses to no higher than 25%, and end federal taxation of business investment by allowing for immediate expensing. Rubio also proposed shifting to a territorial tax system, ending the double-taxation of profits earned abroad for both businesses and individuals. The plan would also eliminate the double-taxation on saving and investment income and would provide a transition period during which the nation would move to a 0% tax rate on dividends and capital gains. Rubio would also eliminate the estate tax. The plan would provide a new child tax credit of up to $2,500, which phases out for wealthier Americans and would offer a limited 25% non-refundable tax credit to any business that offers between four and twelve weeks of paid leave to workers with qualifying family or medical issues, such as, a newborn child in need of care, an elderly parent with declining health, a personal health crisis, or a spouse’s deployment.
  • Voted against H.R. 8 – the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003, while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels.
  • Introduced the American Growth, Recovery, Empowerment and Entrepreneurship Act, also known as the AGREE Act. The bill sought to extend tax credits and exemptions for businesses investing in research and development, provide a tax credit for veterans who start a business franchise, protect intellectual property, remove some regulations and implement other pro-jobs proposals.
  • Opposed the American Jobs Act of 2011 because it included a $453 billion tax hike on businesses and a 3.8 percent Medicare tax on unearned income.
  • Signed the Americans for Tax Reform “Tax Payer Protection Pledge” as a member of Congress and as a state legislator.
  • Proposed an initiative to raise the sales tax. The funds were to be used to eliminate property taxes in the state.
  • As a West Miami City Commission council member, he voted to increase property tax collections in 1998 and 1999.

Carly Fiorina:

  • “We need to radically simplify the tax code so that we can re-start the real engine of growth in our economy. That means our tax code needs to go from 73,000 pages down to about three pages. We also need to move from revenue-neutral to revenue-reducing tax reform, because the federal government spends far too much money. In order to do both of those things, we need to lower every rate and close every loophole. I will support a low, flat tax for businesses and individuals so that we fix the tax base and grow the economy.
  • Wants to reduce the tax code to just three pages. Fiorina said, “You know why three? Because only if it’s about three pages are you leveling the playing field between the big, the powerful, the wealthy and the well-connected who can hire the armies of lawyers and accountants and, yes, lobbyists to help them navigate their way through 73,000 pages. Three pages is about the maximum that a single business owner or a farmer or just a couple can understand without hiring somebody. Almost 60 percent of American people now need to hire an expert to understand their taxes.”
  • Supported extending the Bush tax cuts, eliminating the “capital gains tax on small-business investments” and eliminating the death tax.
  • “I have never been in favor of an Internet tax. I said it’s a bad idea.”

Ted Cruz:

  • A 10 percent flat tax on all individual income from wages. He also proposed elimination of the payroll tax and the corporate income tax, to be replaced by a 16 percent Business flat tax. Cruz said that social security and medicare will remain fully funded, despite elimination of the payroll tax, which funds those programs. Cruz’s plan also included a Universal Savings Account, which would allow every American to save up to $25,000 annually on a tax-deferred basis for any purpose. Cruz also promised no estate tax, alternative minimum tax or ObamaCare taxes, and would do away with taxes on profits earned abroad.
  • A flat tax where everyone pays the same rate, as well as relegating tax collection and enforcement to a smaller part of the Treasury Department. Cruz believes that a switching to flat tax would make the IRS irrelevant.
  • Co-sponsored S 1431 – Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act, which proposed making the ban on state and local taxation of Internet access and e-commerce permanent.
  • Co-sponsored S 1183 – Death Tax Repeal Act of 2013, which proposed amending “the Internal Revenue Code to: (1) repeal the estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes, and (2) make permanent the maximum 35% gift tax rate and a $5 million lifetime gift tax exemption. Provides for an inflation adjustment to such exemption amount.
  • Proposed moving toward a flat tax system under which everyone pays the same rate. He said that there would still be a large standard deduction for lower-income earners and that he would keep deductions for mortgage interest and charitable donations.
  • Supported keeping all of the Bush tax cuts.
  • Proposed cutting corporate tax rates during his 2012 Senate campaign. He wrote, “We should cut corporate tax rates — to 15% immediately — to spur new investment and create new jobs in America.
  • Signed the Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge in 2011.

Jeb Bush:

  • Three tax brackets of 28, 25 and 10 percent and ditching the existing seven brackets, including the 39.6 percent top rate; to eliminate lobbyist-created loopholes in the tax code; to ensure the tax code does not hinder America’s international competitiveness. Bush argued in the article that his plan would “unleash increased investment, higher wages and sustained 4% economic growth, while reducing the deficit.”
  • Cut taxes for most taxpayers and would repeal the alternative minimum tax, cap the mortgage interest deduction, eliminate the estate tax as well as cut the top corporate tax rate to 20 percent from the current 35 percent top rate.
  • Subsidies for the wind, solar, oil and gas industries should be phased out through tax reform.
  • Proposed and signed into law a tax cut virtually every year of his tenure, ranging from cuts in property taxes to a phaseout of the intangibles tax—a levy on certain financial assets like stocks and bonds that makes Florida’s tax code hostile to capital formation.
  • Has cut the Florida tax burden and held off a tax hike agenda advanced by senators in his own party. In 1999, he cut the Florida property tax by $1 billion, and in 2001 he cut the business intangible tax by $600 million. This past year he regrettably agreed to delay the final stage of the intangibles tax cut until 2003 as part of a budget balancing deal to cut $1 billion in state spending.
  • Proposed and signed into law a $1 billion tax cut, the largest in Florida history and one of the largest in the nation in 1999.

John Kasich:

  • Allow American companies conducting business overseas to repatriate income earned abroad without penalties. “I’m for bringing the taxes down, and I’m for repatriation at no charge. Just bring the money back. I would let them bring it back, and then I would have a territory program where you don’t get double-taxed. You pay taxes where you do your operations. If you do an operation in Poland, then you get taxed there. And then you bring your profits home.”
  • Unveiled “The Kasich Action Plan” on October 15, 2015. The proposal called for reducing the number of tax brackets to three from seven; lowering the top individual tax rate from 39.6 percent to 28 percent; and capping the long-term capital gains tax rate at 15 percent, helping those in the highest income tax bracket. Kasich’s plan also included a drop in the top business tax rates from 35 percent to 25 percent. The proposal would also eliminate the estate tax; double the research and development tax credit for small businesses; and increase by 10 percent the earned income tax credit, which designed to help lower-income taxpayers. Kaisch said he would also balance the budget in eight years by freezing most spending except for the military.
  • In the run up to the launch of his campaign to run for president on July 21, 2015, Kasich had said that he has been exploring a flat tax.
  • Enacted $5 billion in tax cuts, eliminated Ohio’s estate tax, cut the state income tax 16 percent, eliminated the income tax for many small businesses and provided targeted tax relief to low-and middle-income workers.
  • Proposed a gradual 8.5 percent decrease in income taxes over three years. The proposal included increases in cigarette, commercial activity and drilling taxes to make up for the loss.
  • Signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which was sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform. In signing, Kasich promised to “oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes.

Rand Paul:

  • Rejected the idea that his plan to create a “flat and fair tax” would increase income inequality. “It’s a fallacious notion to say, ‘Oh, rich people get more money back in a tax cut.’ If you cut taxes 10 percent, 10 percent of a million is more than 10 percent of a thousand dollars. So, obviously, people who pay more in taxes will get more back. We all end up working for people who are more successful than us and that’s a good thing, that more money will be back in the economy,” Paul said.
  • Released his tax reform plan on June 18, 2015 in a op-ed in The Wall Street Journal. His plan called for replacing the tax code with a flat 14.5 percent flat rate on income. The corporate tax would be replaced with a 14.5 percent value-added tax, known as a “business activity tax.” It would eliminates all estate and gift taxes, (most) tax credits, deductions, and loopholes that favor big business. The proposal would add $1 trillion to the debt under its dynamic analysis but $3 trillion under a more traditional calculation, according to the Tax Foundation, which advocates for lower taxes.
  • Proposed replacing the current tax code with a low-rate flat tax that would include a standard deduction and personal exemptions. According to Paul, “The flat tax would eliminate every form of unfair double taxation in the United States, including the capital gains, dividend, estate, gift, and interest tax.
  • Signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. In doing so, Paul promised to “oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes.” Paul previously signed this pledge when he successfully ran for the United States Senate seat in Kentucky in 2010. According to the Americans for Tax Reform, Paul has honored this pledge as a senator.
  • Recommended repealing the medical device tax and sponsored a resolution to nullify IRS guidance on the medical device tax.
  • Co-sponsored S.1183 – Death Tax Repeal Act of 2013.

Chris Christie:

  • “Tax deductions should be eliminated except for home-mortgage interest and charitable contributions. He said, “Most people in this country now feel — they have a feeling, they don’t know for sure — but they feel like the tax system in our country is rigged for the rich. The reason they think that is because it is. The tax system is rigged for the rich. Only people with great lawyers and great accountants and a lot of money get to take advantage of it.”
  • Opposed an increase to New Jersey’s gas tax if it was not accompanied by other tax cuts. Christie said Republican state legislators should be focused on negotiating around inheritance and sales taxes.
  • Proposed cutting the number of tax bracket to three and lowering the top rate to 28 percent from the current 39 percent top rate. The plan would also lower the corporate rate to 25 percent from the current 35 percent top rate. Christie’s plan would be revenue-neutral, meaning it would not increase the deficit, and it would limit some deductions and credits, while keeping others, such as, deductions for charitable contributions and interest on home mortgages.
  • Signed the Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge on August 12, 2015, promising to “oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes.
  • Proposed various “tax policy adjustments” and “fees” in order to balance the budget. Christie denied that the budget would implement any new or increased taxes, but others, such as Assembly Budget Chairman Gary Schaer, said that these fees were merely taxes in disguise. Schaer explained, “Revenue enhancements, call them what you want, it’s new taxes… That’s what the governor is proposing. I’m sure he’s not happy about proposing it. Most of the people I’m talking to are even less happy about paying it.”
  • Voted to raise the county’s open space tax while serving as a county freeholder, the overall county taxes decreased 6.6 percent during his tenure from 1995 to 1998.

Mike Huckabee:

  • Supports a “FairTax,” which would establish a national retail sales tax, in lieu of the current tax system that taxes how much income people make.
  • Dismantle the Internal Revenue Service and adopt the FairTax, a national sale tax that would apply to the purchase of new goods and services.
  • Criticized the estate tax, saying, “Some families have assets in long-held land that has to be sold to pay inheritance taxes. Why should a generation be punished for seeking to leave something for one’s family?” Huckabee similarly questioned the country’s corporate tax structure. He said, “A tax is punishment. Why punish a company for making money? If there were no taxes on what we earn, imagine the trillions of capital that would flow here from around the world.
  • Opposed a congressional proposal that would ban taxes on Internet access. Arguing the ban could cause Arkansas to lose $40 million per year, Huckabee explained, “We’re not trying to after new revenue and make an additional tax. We simply want to maintain the existing taxing authority that we have.” Rather than making permanent the moratorium on Internet taxes, Huckabee supported a bipartisan two-year extension of the moratorium to give lawmakers time to reevaluate the definition and financial consequences of the policy.

Bobby Jindal:

  • Eliminate the corporate tax. Jindal said, “We do have the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world. I’d get rid of it. I’d get rid of all the corporate welfare. Make the CEOs pay their same tax rates the way the rest of us do.”
  • Three personal tax brackets: 2 percent, 10 percent and 25 percent. Jindal would also eliminate corporate income tax, the estate tax, the gift tax, the alternative minimum tax and the “marriage penalty.
  • A $1 billion reduction over five years, the largest tax cut in Louisiana history. In the 2016 budget signed into law June 19, 2015, Jindal and the legislature raised revenue to close a budget shortfall, in part, by rolling back tax breaks for businesses, and raising taxes on cigarettes. Louisiana is among the states that legally requires its lawmakers to propose and pass a balanced budget. The proposal to claw back the tax breaks for businesses ran afoul of some Louisiana conservatives because Jindal sought out the blessing of anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist to make sure it complied with his pledge — signed by many Republicans, including Jindal — not to raise taxes.
  • Proposed a dramatic tax overhaul in 2013, which would have eliminated personal and corporate income taxes in exchange for increasing the sales tax rate and broadening the sales tax base. The overall plan was revenue neutral, but would have simplified the tax system and encouraged economic growth. Unfortunately, he had to put the plan aside because of some design flaws and resistance to such a large-scale policy change.
  • Proposed a plan to get rid of the state income and corporate taxes and replace the lost revenue with higher and broader sales taxes, but set the plan aside due to a lack of support. This overhaul proposal received mixed reviews. According to The Fiscal Times, “The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a liberal think tank, charged that the Jindal plan would raise taxes on the bottom 80 percent of Louisiana citizens. Conservative tax guru Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform cheered the Jindal plan, calling it ‘the gold standard for pro-growth reform.
  • Supported making the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 permanent.

Rick Santorum:

  • 20/20 Flat Tax Plan, which proposes a 20 percent flat tax on individual income and a 20 percent flat tax on business income. The plan also proposed increasing the minimum wage; repealing Obamacare in order to pay for the flat tax proposal; approving the Keystone XL Pipeline; creating work requirements for means-tested entitlement programs; and reducing legal and illegal immigration.
  • Tax platform built around a flat individual tax rate of 20 percent. The marriage penalty, death tax and alternative minimum tax would be eliminated. Except for charitable giving and mortgage interest, Itemized deductions would also be eliminated. The corporate tax rate would bet set at 20 percent, with a two-year phase-in period for American manufacturers to encourage job growth.
  • Setting income and corporate taxes to 20 percent and eliminating the VAT tax.
  • Proposed reducing “the number of income tax brackets from six to two (10% and 28%) and triple what his campaign identifies as the personal deduction that parents can claim for their children. Santorum would also eliminate the so-called marriage penalty, which often causes two-earner couples to owe more in federal income taxes than if they filed as single individuals. In addition, he would eliminate both the Alternative Minimum Tax and the estate tax. And he would reduce the capital gains rate from 15% to 12%. For businesses, he would cut the corporate income tax rate in half to 17.5% and eliminate it entirely for manufacturers. Plus, he would increase the research and development credit and reduce the tax burden on U.S. companies that choose to bring back their overseas profits to the United States.
  • Proposed allowing “certain low-income individuals between age 18 and 61 to establish tax-exempt individual development accounts (IDAs) to pay for certain qualified expenses, including education expenses, first-time homebuyer costs, and business capitalization or expansion costs.
  • Voted for S 442 – Internet Tax Freedom Act, which proposed prohibiting certain taxes on the Internet.

George Pataki:

  • Signed a pledge to “oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes.
  • Scrap the current tax code in favor of something similar to the recommendations made by the bipartisan deficit reduction commission led by former Clinton administration official Erskine Bowles and former Republican senator Alan Simpson “I would essentially throw out the entire tax code, along the lines of the Bowles-Simpson recommendation. Get rid of the vast majority of the exemptions, credits and loopholes. I would keep things like the home mortgage interest deduction, the charitable credit and the [research and development] credit. But simplify it and dramatically lower the rates. I think we’d have a far fairer system. I don’t know that I want to say [what my highest rate would be] now, but it would be dramatically lower than what it is today. It would be along the lines of Bowles-Simpson. Among other things, I am going to suggest that we have a tax rate on manufacturing that is the lowest in the developed world. Right now our corporate tax rate is the highest in the developed world.
  • “Extend the payroll tax cut. It helps families and it helps the economy.”