Aggressive list of changes detailed in proposed Bush tax code

"It’s past time for a change," Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush wrote in an op-ed about his tax proposals.
By Doug G. Ware  |  Sept. 9, 2015 at 5:01 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush has revealed the details of his tax proposals which adds breaks for investment and business income -- but removes deductions for filing citizens.

Bush detailed his plans Wednesday, a day after writing an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal titled, "My Tax Overhaul to Unleash 4% Growth."

"Under President Obama, Americans have now endured six years of tax increases, endless regulation, vast new federal programs and $8 trillion in added debt," Bush said in the Journal column. "The president told us this "stimulus" would jump-start the economy. Instead, we got an anemic economy growing at barely 2% a year."

Bush's column calls out the Obama administration for mismanaging the American economy and continuing to provide ineffective tax incentives to wealthy special interests and not the ordinary taxpayer. His plan, he argues, refocuses tax benefits on individual citizens.

Bush's plan, which some analysts say is similar in some aspects to Mitt Romney's three years ago, would slash the tax rate for businesses by 15 percent -- and position the tax rate for the wealthiest Americans to top-out at 28 percent. Bush said his plan is designed to lower taxes to create 19 million new jobs in an environment of rising middle-class wages.

Wednesday, he elaborated saying he would also eliminate President Barack Obama's near 4 percent net investment tax paid by higher-income earners. The individual capital gains and dividend rates would fall almost 4 percent under Bush's plan.

"Restoring the right to rise in America requires accelerating growth, and that can't be done without a complete overhaul of the U.S. tax code," Bush wrote.

One of the most conspicuous changes in Bush's plan is the difference for tax-filing Americans each year. His strategy calls for an increase in the standard deduction for married couples by $10,000 per year ($22,600).

Bush would also open up the tax brackets a little bit. Right now, earners making $151,200 or more pay the highest rate. Under the Bush plan, that wouldn't start until $163,801.

The plan also raises the minimum salary for married couples to be tax exempt to $38,600.

To offset the cost of some of the changes, Bush said he would remove businesses' ability to deduct interest on debt.

The former Florida governor also said the U.S. tax code is "rigged" to help special interests at the expense of tax-paying Americans -- and actually encourages businesses to accumulate debt by allowing them to deduct what they borrow.

While many points of his plan aim to benefit low-to-middle class Americans, Bush does include a few breaks to the wealthiest Americans -- notably the personal-exemption phaseout and a deduction limit known as Pease.

"Low growth, crony capitalism and easy debt -- that's President Obama's economic agenda," Bush wrote. "It's past time for a change."

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