Jeb Bush proposes 'simple, fair and clear' tax code
Posted September 9, 2015
Updated September 10, 2015
Garner, N.C. — Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush called Wednesday for a lower corporate tax rate and immediate tax deductions for business investments.
The former Florida governor also wants to cut personal income tax brackets from seven to three – 28, 25 and 10 percent.
"We need to jump-start our economy, and we can do that by fixing our broken tax code. It’s a disaster. We all know it," Bush said during an appearance before a few hundred supporters at Morris & Associates in Garner.
The company, which makes industrial icing equipment, such as chillers for poultry processors, would be among the small businesses to benefit from the tax reform proposals, Bush said, calling them "simple, fair and clear" and saying they would help the U.S. economy grow faster.
"My plan for the entire economy will create a true revival of the private sector and 19 million new jobs," he said. "My plan will help those who live on their paychecks and who haven’t seen a raise in a while, and it means the American dream will be possible for millions who have forgotten what it looks like."
Bush wants to reduce the corporate income tax from 35 percent – among the highest in the world – to 20 percent and give businesses the chance to deduct new capital investments immediately.
Bush said 15 million people would not pay any tax under his plan. He proposes doubling the standard deduction, eliminating the marriage penalty, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and ending the estate tax and Alternative Minimum Tax.
He wants to cap various deductions used by the wealthy and what he calls Washington special interests and would end the employee's share of the Social Security tax on earnings for workers 67 and older.
"Of all the terrible things that can be said about our tax code – and I can think of a few – the worst is probably this: It punishes people for doing things we should encourage and rewards people for doing things that may not be so good," he said. "The current tax code makes it easier to borrow than to build. I believe it’s time we build for the future, not borrow from it."
Bush, who trails in the polls nationally and in early primary states, has offered up several policy proposals in recent weeks to combat the bombastic campaign of front-runner Donald Trump. The billionaire businessman has lambasted Bush with a flurry of personal attacks.
Without naming Trump, Bush called for more thoughtful policy debate on the campaign trail.
"We have to fix these things. We can't just talk about it. We can't appeal to people's angst and their fears. We have to give them hope that we can fix these things," he said. "So, restoring some degree of civility is not a sign of weakness; it's a sign of strength and leadership."
North Carolina State University political science professor Andy Taylor said that, with the crowded GOP field of candidates, Bush has got to find a way to stand out.
"In a field of 17, you need to start to have these kinds of positions that people can identify you clearly with," Taylor said. "Voters are looking for people outside the political mainstream, and this is obviously a problem for Jeb Bush because he is quintessential political establishment."
Melodie Parrish, a former Durham County Republican Party chairwoman, said she was excited by Bush's tone as well as his ideas.
"It's very civil and introduces a willingness to work with everyone," Parrish said.
Meanwhile, Democrats called the plan "more trickle-down Bush economics."
"Bush is embracing a disastrous economic agenda that benefits himself, and those like himself, while leaving the middle class out to dry," said Holly Shulman, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee.