Kurt Bills has been running for the US Senate on a platform of fundamental government reform, including reworking the tax code.
The day Bills filed for office he named three plans to balance the budget he could live with as starting points for negotiation: the Paul Ryan budget, Senator Tom Coburn's "Back in Black" plan, and Rand Paul's "Platform to Revitalize America." Two out of the three plans include tax reforms that critics have characterized as "tax increases."
The Coburn plan closes nearly a trillion dollars in tax loopholes, and Paul's plan includes a 17% flat tax which many claim raises taxes on some Americans. Bills would vote for either of them as far superior to the current lack of a budget or a plan to eliminate the deficit.
News media reports have focused on Bills' recent reiteration of support for reforming the tax code to improve economic growth and reduce the deficit as an endorsement of tax increases. In fact, Bills has not said anything new. He has always expressed support for the Coburn and Paul plans, despite the criticisms from some anti-tax advocates.
"I am laser focused on eliminating the deficit, and think we need to reform the tax code to get there. We need to eliminate tax loopholes and subsidies, and quit using our tax code to pick winners and losers. Some people will call that a tax increase; I just call it common sense," said Bills.
"Currently we are bringing in 14-15% of GDP in revenue. Historically we have brought in 17-20%. Ensuring 17-18% revenue through a flat, fair tax that is still progressive while working to pull down spending from a level that is an unsustainable 24% of GDP is the way forward."
"Special interest tax breaks are terrible policy and worse economics. We've got trillion dollar deficits at the same time we are subsidizing businesses through tax breaks. That has to stop," Bills added.
"I don't understand why anybody is surprised by what I said at the Humphrey Institute. I've been supporting these plans all along," Bills concluded.