Brown hits Warren over not paying higher tax rate
April 20th, 2012
03:34 PM ET
2 years ago

Brown hits Warren over not paying higher tax rate

(CNN) – Sen. Scott Brown's campaign cried "hypocrite" at Elizabeth Warren on Friday over her decision not to pay the optional higher tax rate on her state return.

Warren, the Democrat who's challenging Brown for his U.S. senate seat in Massachusetts, has been a stalwart advocate for the so-called Buffett Rule–a proposal advanced by the Obama administration that calls on people making more than $1 million a year to pay federal taxes amounting to at least 30% of their income.

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Senate Republicans, including Brown, blocked the measure earlier this week.

Because Warren, a former Obama adviser who paints herself as the middle class advocate, repeatedly pushes for the wealthy to pay a "fair share" in taxes, Brown's team argues that she should have no problem paying higher taxes, given her six-figure salary and millions in assets.

"The problem with running a campaign based on self-righteousness and moral superiority is that you had better live up to the same standard you would impose on everyone else," Jim Barnett, Brown's campaign manager, said in a statement.

Very few taxpayers choose to pay the optional rate. According to Bob Bliss, communications director at the state's revenue department, about 650 out of 3.5 million people selected the rate this year.

The state's optional tax rate became effective in 2001 as part of a compromise for those who opposed the state's voter-approved tax cuts the previous year.

Massachusetts is one of eight states with so-called Tax Me More Funds, according to the Americans for Tax Reform Center for Fiscal Accountability.

Warren's campaign confirmed the candidate opted out of paying the state's elective tax rate of 5.83%, which is slightly higher than the normal tax rate of 5.3%.

Her spokeswoman, Alethea Harney, argued the point of the Buffet Rule is for everyone to play by the same rules, not arbitrary or voluntary rules.

"The Buffet Rule is about making sure millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share, not about funding government through voluntary contributions. This question misses the key point in the debate, because it's not just about economics but about our values," she told CNN.

Brown, as expected, also did not pay the optional tax rate.

Warren and Brown are locked in a tight Senate race, as Brown fights to keep the seat he won in a 2010 special election to replace the late Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy who held the seat for decades. Polls in recent months have indicated Brown and Warren remain statistically tied.

In terms of fundraising, however, Warren has far outpaced her opponent, raising a mammoth $6.9 million in the first quarter, compared to Brown's $3.4 million.

Despite her fundraising advantage in the first three months of the year, Brown has $4 million more cash on hand heading into the 2012 election, at $15 million.

Also see:

Romney releases March fundraising figures

Paul campaign touts campaign cash

RNC looks to Facebook for political edge

Biden says Democrats have chance in Arizona


Filed under: 2012 • Elizabeth Warren • Scott Brown • Senate
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Willis

    Yo Scott, why you be so special as to pay half the tax of the middle class?

    April 20, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  2. Bessy

    He didn't pay it either so why is he shooting off his big mouth. The idea behind the Buffet Rule is that the wealthiest pay their fair share. I repeat, " fair share ".

    April 20, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  3. SUBS 4 VOTES/Dutch Bad Newz, VA/GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE

    Sen. Brown, you're going down. Just how much money has Wall St. put into your coffers? You are their favorite senator.

    April 20, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  4. BLKMANinAmerica

    So .................. just interested in knowing how much Mr. Brown pay's in taxes? Bet we will never get that answer because this (Brown) person is yet another repuk "hypocrite".

    April 20, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  5. Jrdz

    Hey Scott I am going to laugh my a$$ when you lose big time and before you start shooting off that big old mouth of your try telling the truth next time we all know you did not pay the higher rate either.

    April 20, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  6. QS

    What a move of sheer desperation....shouldn't expect much more though, conservatives this election cycle are all going to be reaching into the bag of desperate moves to try to get re-elected after a couple years of doing nothing but trying to take us back to pre-1950.

    April 20, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  7. GI Joe

    She didn't do anything illegal (the quote that republicans use so often).

    He was voted FAVORITE SENATOR by Wall Street. Does he pay ANY tax at all on the cash they hand him? I doubt it.

    April 20, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  8. The Real Truth and Nothing But the Real Truth

    Bessy - He didn't pay it either so why is he shooting off his big mouth.
    ======================================================
    He isn't the one advocating that people pay more to the government, hypocrit Warren is. I guess she is more into FORCING people to pay more and do things because of government regulations and mandates. It seems to be the Democrat way.

    The idea behind the Buffet Rule is that the wealthiest pay their fair share. I repeat, " fair share ".
    ==========================================================================
    So they already pay most of the tax collected. But nearly 50% pay NOTHING. What would you propose is a "fair share" for the free loading 50%???

    April 20, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  9. Four and The Door

    Bessy
    He didn't pay it either so why is he shooting off his big mouth. The idea behind the Buffet Rule is that the wealthiest pay their fair share. I repeat, " fair share ".
    _____________________________________________________________________________________________
    Oh Bessie, you really buy into that partisan political dribble, don't you? Fact is, every time the capital gains tax rate has been lowered, federal revenues increased and the wealthy paid more. How can that be? Easy. The wealthy stuff their money away rather than invest it to be taxed higher. When the government lowers rates, the money comes out to work for all of us. America's economy needs investment, not revenge and divisiveness. Obama only understands the revenge part. That's politics. His game.

    Romney 2012

    April 20, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  10. Bob

    Sounds like Brown is getting desperate.

    April 20, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  11. Logic N LA

    There is a major difference from paying a legal rate and everyone paying that same higher rate. As for Brown's cliam that that is what is wrong with being self-righteous- it can come back and bite you, is the excat argument all democrats have against conservatives! They are always telling everyone how to live but then get caught doing the opposite and look like hypocrits. If you don't judge, it can't be thrown in your face.

    April 20, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  12. No More Hope and Change Obama

    Senator Brown,

    I didn't think anyone could replace Ted Kennedy and do a good job. You sir, have proved me wrong. I was an Obama supporter in 2008 after my gal Hil, went down. I wish I had the vote back. Well, I guess I do now. No Obama but I will cross over and do my best to keep Brown. He votes his conscience. Warren is just not the right person to be Senator.

    April 20, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  13. Fair Taxes

    Republicans are all about someone else paying higher taxes. "You want to pay higher taxes, go ahead, we're right be hind you."

    April 20, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  14. American

    By not paying it himself, Brown unfortunately is exposing his own hypocrisy.

    The difference is Warren stands with the majority of Americans who support the Buffett Rule & shared sacrifice.

    Brown wants to shelter his hedge fund millionaires & billionaires from paying their fair share.

    April 20, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  15. Ms GOP

    I will be so glad when all this is over... neither side is right in all this. Everyone thinks.. that everyone else should pay, while they get away with not paying. .. they all need to get a real job..scrubbing floors.

    April 20, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  16. janelle

    I just love how all these people that go on and on about paying fair share, are only willing to pay more if everyone else has to as well. So much for leading by example! And while we're on fairness, why is it fair that there is an expectation that others must work hard and sacrifice and pay the way of not only themselves, but others as well, and then others don't have to put forth any kind of effeort whatsoever to care for themselves?

    April 20, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  17. Uncle Bob

    Democrats offer to drive more fuel efficient cars and republicans drive even bigger gas guzzlers to make up the difference.

    April 20, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  18. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    So, he has the money to pay the higher rate and critizes her for not doing that? I think that is called hypocracy. Is he going to make it into another term? It is beginning to look like he is going to fall.

    April 20, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  19. Mikey

    @Four – "Fact is, every time the capital gains tax rate has been lowered, federal revenues increased and the wealthy paid more."
    *****************************************
    That statement is simply incorrect. In fact, looking at the past 60 years, there is a slightly negative correlation between lower tax rates and the GDP. Lower tax rates do not produce economic growth. That is reality, no matter what your preconceived notions are. Further, using the same period, there is also a negative correlation between lower tax rates and lower unemployment rates.

    If you have statistical evidence to support your claims, please provide the source. Otherwise, we can all just assume you are acting like Mitt Romney and lying again.

    April 20, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  20. skytag

    This business of attacking people for not volunteering to pay more in taxes is stupid. We need good tax policy, not bad tax policy supplemented by voluntary donations.

    April 20, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  21. The Real Truth and Nothing But the Real Truth

    Mikey
    @Four – "Fact is, every time the capital gains tax rate has been lowered, federal revenues increased and the wealthy paid more."
    *****************************************
    That statement is simply incorrect. In fact, looking at the past 60 years, there is a slightly negative correlation between lower tax rates and the GDP
    ===========================================================================================
    OK Mikey, then using your logic we should have a huge GDP if taxes are 100%? or maybe 90%?? Do you have any ideaq how absolutely clueless you sound?

    April 20, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  22. The Real Truth and Nothing But the Real Truth

    Believe it or not, I think even the people of Massachusetts are sick and tired of the far left Democrat Party. The state might be ripe for the start of another revolution, or maybe electing Brown was the start of it?!

    April 20, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  23. The REAL TRUTH... (not the Imposter)

    @The Real Truth and Nothing But the Real Truth – "But nearly 50% pay NOTHING. What would you propose is a "fair share" for the free loading 50%???"
    ---------------------------–
    I'm thinking it should be 30%. After all the 1% free loaders certainly pay barely anything today. That the 50% you are talking about?

    April 20, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  24. The REAL TRUTH... (not the Imposter)

    Why would anyone VOLUNTEER to pay more than they are legally obligated. i bet Brown doesn't so why should Warren be any different? This is typical schoolyard GOBP whining... WAHAHHAHHA!

    April 20, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  25. The REAL TRUTH... (not the Imposter)

    @Mikey – "That statement is simply incorrect. "
    ----------------------–
    Thanks mikey,.. it amazes how folks like truth and four come up with this absolute outright garbage lies and apparently believe it. FACT seems to be of little consequence when playing their schoolyard bullying approach.

    Thanks for keeping FACTS alive and well.... you are completely correct in your above post.
    In fact, HIGHER (NOT Lower) TAXES have shown to STIMULATE Growth over the last 100 yrs. Why is that all these folks don't see that? Must be that unique GOP flavor of AMNESIA!!!

    April 20, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
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