SARANAC LAKE - Congressional candidate Chris Gibson might favor a flat federal income tax.
"I'm not ready to endorse a flat tax at this point," Gibson said in an interview with the Enterprise Friday. "But I'm studying it. I'm studying it hard."
Gibson said he has also studied the possibility of a consumption tax, which many European countries have, but said he is leaning more toward a flat tax due to its simplicity. With a flat tax, there are no exemptions or deductions and everyone is taxed at the same rate.
Chris Gibson at the Enterprise Friday
(Enterprise photo — Mike Lynch)
Gibson said "systemic changes" in the tax system should wait until the economy improves, and in the meantime he favors "targeted tax relief," such as rolling back the capital gains and alternative minimum taxes to help small businesses, and possibly the estate tax, too.
Gibson is running against Scott Murphy, D-Glens Falls, who also has the support of the Working Families and Independence parties. The Conservative Party is backing Gibson.
Like many people running for office this year, Gibson has made cutting spending part of his platform, specifically saying he favors abolishing the federal departments of Homeland Security, Energy and Education. However, Gibson did say he sees broadband Internet, increased cell phone coverage and the state Olympic Regional Development Authority as "investments" that generate more revenue for government than they cost.
"We shouldn't be walking over dollars to pick up pennies," Gibson said.
ORDA will get $5.6 million from the state in 2010-11, about $1 million less than in the last state fiscal year. Gibson said he met with ORDA CEO Ted Blazer earlier Friday, and is studying what the federal role in supporting ORDA should be.
When asked about federal spending in the district and the earmark system, under which legislators ask for money for projects in their district, Gibson said he thinks Congress should play a larger role in developing the budget than it does now. Under the current system, unelected officials "in the bowels of the federal bureaucracy," as Gibson described it, develop the details of the budget, which is then delivered to Congress. Congress then holds hearings on it and makes change. He said he thinks the Founding Fathers envisioned a greater congressional role in drafting the budget, as the Constitution says all "revenue bills" are to originate in the House of Representatives.
"If Congress does anything to (the budget), it's called an earmark," Gibson said. "Why isn't Congress deciding what the priorities are for the American people in the first place?"
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