Bush proposes 'simple, fair and clear' tax code

Posted at 11:02 AM, Sep 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-09 14:02:55-04

MIAMI (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush's tax reform plan calls for a lower corporate tax rate and immediate tax deductions for business investments.

The former Florida governor also wants to cut personal income tax brackets from seven to three, with the lowest rate at 10 percent.

He outlined the proposal in an op-ed published Tuesday on The Wall Street Journal's website.

"Today, the tax code is a labyrinth littered with thousands of special-interest giveaways, subsidies and other breaks written to favor Washington insiders," wrote Bush. "At 80,000 pages, it's a tax code only an army of tax accountants and lobbyists could love — because they've written it."

Bush said he wants to create a tax code that is "simple, fair and clear," and predicts it will help the U.S. economy grow faster.

Bush, who trails in the polls nationally and in early primary states, has offered up several policy proposals in recent weeks to combat the bombastic campaign of front-runner Donald Trump. The billionaire businessman has lambasted Bush with a flurry of personal attacks.

Under his tax reform plan, Bush would collapse the number of individual tax rate brackets from seven to three: 10 percent, 15 percent and 28 percent. Currently, there are seven tax brackets, ranging from 10 percent to 39.6 percent. Bush said 15 million people would not pay any tax under his plan.

He proposes doubling the standard deduction, eliminating the marriage penalty, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and ending the estate tax and Alternative Minimum Tax. He also would end the employee's share of the Social Security tax on earnings for workers 67 and older.

Bush wants to reduce the corporate income tax from 35 percent — among the highest in the world — to 20 percent and give businesses the chance to deduct new capital investments immediately. He also wants to eliminate the interest on business loans.

Democrats called the plan "more trickle-down Bush economics."

"Bush is embracing a disastrous economic agenda that benefits himself, and those like himself, while leaving the middle class out to dry," said Holly Shulman, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee.

Bush will offer more details on his tax reform plan during a trip Wednesday to North Carolina, where he will visit a manufacturing firm to show how small businesses would benefit from his proposal.