Tax study withdrawn after GOP complaints

Nov. 1, 2012 at 8:28 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Congressional researchers pulled a report that found no correlation between top tax rates and economic growth after Republican complaints about the study.

The non-partisan Congressional Research Service withdrew the report Sept. 28, two weeks after it was issued. The decision to withdraw the report was made against the advice of the service's top economics specialists, The New York Times reported Thursday.

The withdrawal came after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and other Republicans complained about the tone and methodology of the report -- which challenges the assertion that reducing top marginal tax rates promotes growth and job creation, the Times said.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. -- who referred to the report in a speech more than a week after the CRS withdrew it -- said the decision to withdraw it under political pressure "has hues of a banana republic."

Republicans "didn't like a report, and instead of rebutting it, they had them take it down," Schumer said.

Republicans did not confirm whether they had asked that the report be withdrawn. A spokesman for McConnell said others outside of Washington also found fault with the study and the CRS took it down on its own.

Antonia Ferrier, a spokeswoman for Senate Finance Committee Republicans, said the report was pulled following "a good discussion" with CRS regarding "a lot of problems with the report from a real, legitimate economic analysis perspective."

Thomas Hungerford, the author of the study, told the liberal Talking Points Memo website in an email he wasn't involved in the discussion to withdraw the report but, he said, "I certainly stand behind my work."

Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, said in a letter Thursday to CRS Director Mary B. Mazanec he was "deeply disturbed" that the report "was taken down in response to political pressure from congressional Republicans who had ideological objections to the report's factual findings and conclusion."

"I would like your explanation as to why this report was removed from the CRS website, who made that decision and what considerations led to it," Levin wrote.

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