(CNN) – In calling for a broader, simplified tax code, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Friday that bigger businesses, in knowing how to utilize loopholes in the tax code, are "doing fine in many places" compared to small businesses.
"We've got to make it easier for small businesses," Romney told a crowd of about 300 people at a high-dollar fundraiser in Minnesota. "Big business is doing fine in many places -they get the loans they need, they can deal with all the regulation. They know how to find ways to get through the tax code, save money by putting various things in the places where there are low tax havens around the world for their businesses. But small business is getting crushed."
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Romney's running mate Paul Ryan made similar comments in an interview earlier Friday, also in arguing for what the duo says would be a tax code more conductive to a competitive economic system.
"By plugging loopholes, which are uniquely enjoyed by higher income individuals, you're reducing their ability to shelter their income from taxation," Ryan said. "Therefore, more of their income is subject to taxation and that allows us to lower tax rates for everybody in America–families, small businesses."
The Romney and Ryan plan includes proposals that primarily emphasize reducing tax rates while maintaining tax breaks for savings and investment. More specifically, the plan calls for an extension for all of the Bush tax cuts, including a tax break on an annual income of more than $250,000. The Republicans' plan also calls for reducing the individual income tax rate by 20%, eliminating the estate tax, eliminating the alternative minimum tax, and reducing the corporate income tax.
The Obama administration has attacked Romney's tax proposal as detrimental to the middle class. Obama has rejected the Republican supported tax proposal while calling for an extension of the Bush tax cuts only on income of under $250,000 and, furthermore, tapping wealthier individuals to pay a higher tax rate, which he calls the Buffett Rule.
"Here's the thing, he's not asking you to contribute more to pay down the deficit, or to invest in our kids' education. He's asking you to pay more so that people like him can get a tax cut," Obama said this month at a campaign event in Mansfield, Ohio, pointing to a report by the Tax Policy Center that concludes that Romney's economic plan would provide large tax cuts to high-income households while increasing the tax burdens on low to middle income taxpayers.
The Romney campaign took issue with the study, saying that it doesn't take into account the Republican candidate's full tax program and ignores benefits created by the corporate tax plan and proposal for deficit reduction in the Romney plan.
Romney's personal finances have been a topic on the campaign trail since the former Massachusetts governor and successful businessman entered the presidential race.
Critics have cited Romney's off-shore account holdings as evidence of the former Bain Capital executive's willingness to use loopholes in the tax code to his benefit. His financial disclosures suggest his net worth is as high as $264 million, making him one of the wealthiest candidates in history to seek the U.S. presidency.
Additionally, Romney's refusal to release more years of tax returns have fueled Democrats attacks that the presumptive GOP nominee is playing by a different set of rules.
Romney has released tax returns from 2010 and an estimate for 2011, thus far, refusing to release more years of returns.
Romney and his campaign have rejected the calls for more financial transparency as a ploy from the Obama campaign to avoid talking about major issues facing the nation like the economy.
Romney's comments may stir political memories of a comment made by Obama in a June news conference saying "the private sector's doing fine." The Romney campaign seized on the comment using the gaffe as evidence that the president is out-of-touch with the ailing economy.
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