Brown hits Warren over not paying higher tax rate
April 20th, 2012
03:34 PM ET
11 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. Sniffit

    "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."

    Experts and historical record disagree with you on your attempt to imply that cutting capital gains tax rates increases revenue permanently. There is typically a very short-term increase in response to the rate being lowered because people rush to cash in on the lowered rate before it goes back up. Over the long-term, most of those people re-invest the original capital and the small amount saved on the decreased rate, at which point it once again becomes another long waiting game for them to sell off the investment assets and realize a taxable capital gain. I'm very sorry that reality has once again pooped on your rosey ideological talking point. Would you like a cookie?

    April 20, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  2. ryche

    HAHAHAH Brown just nailed warren, big time... Let me put it to you this way liberals.. Its just like a GOP senator preaching about family values and than goes off to a bathroom to find a "friend".. its hypocrital.. You're a hypocrite if you preach one thing and do another... Do you liberals believe a GOP senator preaching about family values and than going to find a lover is a hypocrite??? yes of course you do... Just like every Dem sentator that preaches for the rich to pay their "fair share" and than file their taxes at the lowest rate possible... HYPOCRITE... hahhahahah..

    April 20, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. Against Hypocracy!

    Is Brown denouncing Romney for doing the same thing?

    April 20, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  4. The Real Truth and Nothing But the Real Truth

    The REAL TRUTH... (not the Imposter) - Why would anyone VOLUNTEER to pay more than they are legally obligated.
    Because Warren BELIEVES IN BIG GOVERNMENT but she just doesn't believe in PAYING for it. It appears she demands OTHERS pay for HER BOGUS LARGE GOVERNMENT failed ideas.

    Why isn't she helping to pay for all that free healthcare in MA? I guess she just likes to take others money, as most leftists do.

    April 20, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  5. Independent Voters

    You got to be kidding because the republican is for not taxing the rich..Brown tell your friends in Congress and Senate to tax the rich

    April 20, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  6. CBR

    If Senator Brown opts out then he has not right to criticize someone else. Ms. Warren does not owe anyone an explanation. As a matter of fact, neither does ex-Governor Romney.

    April 20, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  7. DB

    All you liberal are nothing but hypocrat

    April 20, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  8. The Real Truth and Nothing But the Real Truth

    Actually, the history of this whole thing is very telling of the Democrats in MA. The Democrats had "temporarily" increased the state tax rate and then refused to lower it. So the people got the tax reversal on the ballot but these are non-binding in MA. It passed but the Democrats running the state STILL refused to listen to the people and lowered it some, but not back to its original point, and then put this dumb option on the tax forms.

    So the moral of the story is, don't let Demorcats con you or your state about "temporary" tax hikes and don't let them control your state legislature with impunity. They could care LESS about what the voters want. THEY know better.

    April 20, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  9. Four and The Door

    Independent Voters
    You got to be kidding because the republican is for not taxing the rich..Brown tell your friends in Congress and Senate to tax the rich...
    Why? Do you think Obama needs more spending money? Raising taxes on the wealthy gets him very very little in terms of covering spending problems.

    But do some research. Mitt Romney will reduce EVERYONE's taxes 20%. See, he knows how to reduce the out-of-control government spending. He can run the federal government more efficiently and this will be a serious boost to our economy. You don't think so? Look at PIGS in Europe. Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain. Their government spending has put them all in economic trouble. They have no choice now but to make tough spending decisions. We still have a chance to stay in control of our economy. But Obama is not the guy. He does not have the background or the political will to take on government spending. His world is more like 2009 and 2010 when spending was higher than ever before in our nation's history. He and Harry Reid are a Washington debt machine.

    April 20, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  10. Bill

    Brown will be gone after the November elections. End of story.

    April 20, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  11. rafly

    Why so many dumbers give dumb comment here. Brown is a clown snake like other Republican, he works only for his Master, big oil company and super rich people. Meanwhile we have Mrs. Warren, the champion of the poor, she will get my money. Obama/Warren 2012.

    April 20, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  12. Phyllis G Williams

    "fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.
    Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase
    So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine"(Proverbs 3: 9-10)(Malachi 3: 10).

    Pity man is born in sin, and cannot realize the grandeur of doing the Lord's will and paying his taxes.

    April 20, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  13. judy

    did you read the whole artical ? Brown did not pay the higher tax either. How can he get on to her. Brown is an over the hill pin up creep. Go sign one of mitts pledges/ Obama 2012 Love ya liz

    April 20, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
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