Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Richard Blumenthal criticized opponent Linda McMahon’s support for an extension of Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy Friday afternoon at the State Police Union Hall in East Hartford.
“I would vote in favor of middle income tax cuts and McMahon would block that,” he said. “The argument about protecting small businesses is a complete red herring. I am the only candidate in this race that supports middle income tax cuts.”
The debate remains whether to extend all Bush-era tax cuts or let those for the wealthy expire in January. Many Republicans believe a tax cut for the wealthiest 2 percent of people will encourage small business owners to continue investing in the economy.
Congress tabled debate Thursday, however, deciding to postpone a vote on extending the tax cuts until after the November 2 election.
McMahon also faces recent controversy over an ad featuring former President John F. Kennedy talking about tax cuts. His nephew, Edward M. Kennedy, Jr., asked McMahon to pull the ad, saying it falsely portrays her tax position. She declined and the ad remains posted on YouTube.
“The facts are simple,” said Shawn McCoy, a spokesman for the McMahon campaign. “Dick Blumenthal’s tax hike will hit 72 percent of all small business income. Linda believes we should allow small businesses the opportunity to create jobs by not raising taxes on them.”
Blumenthal supports tax cuts for the middle class, or anyone making up to $250,000.
“Struggling middle class families need and deserve tax cuts now,” he said during a press conference in Stamford September 16 before a Democratic fundraiser with President Barack Obama.
Blumenthal also claims 97 percent of small business owners will not be impacted if the tax cuts for the wealthy expire. McMahon campaign spokesman Ed Patru disagrees. Patru released data from The Heritage Foundation claiming “that the Blumenthal-backed tax increase on “the rich” would actually impact 72 percent of small business income.”
Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that about 750,000 taxpayers with “net positive business income” would pay the higher rates. However, it’s unclear how many of those are small businesses with employees.
The New York Times reported that of the 750,000 businesses that would be subjected to higher taxes if the tax cuts weren’t extended are sole proprietors. “Because 80 percent of America’s 32 million businesses are sole proprietorships, 90 percent of the tax cut would be derived from businesses without employees,” the Times reported.
Before the tax talk Friday Blumenthal also received the endorsement of the Connecticut State Police Union.
“We sought the input of our 1,082 members,” said president Andrew Matthews. “The membership recognizes that Richard Blumenthal has always been an advocate and strong supporter of public safety issues.”
“The blue and gold mean more to me than any other colors in the rainbow when it comes to this uniform,” Blumenthal said.
Matthews said he does not believe any member of the union attempted to reach out to the McMahon campaign.
“To us, it was an easy choice,” he said.
McCoy said despite the official endorsement, McMahon receives constant support from Connecticut police.
“There isn’t a week that goes by in which Linda doesn’t hear from police officers supporting her,” he said. “They believe it’s time for an outsider and they don’t support Blumenthal’s national energy tax because it will mean $925 more each year in electricity costs and 68 cents more for a gallon of gas.”
Blumenthal’s campaign said he has never supported any such energy tax and McMahon’s campaign is distorting cap and trade proposals, which have already died in Congress.