NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Election Connection

October 31, 2012

Tierney, Tisei outline budget-deal ideas

(Continued)

“We have to figure out a different way to deliver services,” he said.

He has not signed a “no new taxes” pledge that many other Republicans around the country have. “It ties everyone up in knots,” he said.

But, he said rates should not increase and the myriad deductions, exemptions and credits in the tax code need to be examined and reformed.

Tierney is in line with much of his party in that he advocates letting the tax rate for the highest earners rise to 39.6 percent. “We would not extend the Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000,” he said.

Both candidates said they support one of the largest deductions in the tax code – the mortgage interest deduction.

Tierney said that one, along with the health insurance deduction for employers, should not be touched. “You have to be willing to discuss everything, but loopholes that we should not touch are the contributions to employee’s health care and the mortgage deduction,” Tierney said. “There are plenty of places to look.”

Tisei said he supported the mortgage interest deduction, but said it “still needs to be looked at. I don’t think the intent is for yachts or for vacation homes.”

Tierney said that all spending and tax ideas in a budget deal should be on the table, and pointed to a proposal written by House colleague Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland.

That plan would have replaced the automatic spending cuts with reductions or repeals of some tax breaks and corporate and farm subsidies.

Van Hollen’s plan also proposed changing Medicare’s payment system to health care providers by moving away from fee-for-service and toward a set payment for the “quality of care.”

“We will have to look at military budget, but not in sequestration,” Tierney said, referring to the automatic cuts. “You get the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense together. We’ve already cut $1.2 trillion in discretionary spending (in the budget bill last summer). It has to be balanced across the board.”

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