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New Mexico Senators, U.S Senate Candidates Speak Out on “Buffett Rule”

Sens. Tom Udall and Jeff  Bingaman, both New Mexico Democrats, voted in support of a so-called “Buffett Rule” proposal to increase taxes on the nation’s highest earners. Meanwhile, former Rep. Heather Wilson, a Republican seeking to replace Bingaman, who is retiring, said the proposal was a gimmick that would have hurt – not helped – the American economy.

The Senate rejected the measure late Monday after vote to cut off debate and move to a final vote failed 45-51. The bill would have imposed a minimum tax rate of 30 percent on households with adjusted gross incomes of at least $2 million. Those making at least $1 million would have also seen their taxes rise, but not by quite as much.  The proposal stemmed from American billionaire Warren Buffett’s suggestion that the richest in America should be taxed more.

Rep. Martin Heinrich and State Auditor Hector Balderas, Democrats who are also seeking Bingaman’s soon-to-be-open Senate seat, said they would have voted in favor of the Buffett Rule. Greg Sowards, a Las Cruces businessman who is seeking the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate, said he would oppose the Buffett Rule.

Bingaman: Our country faces a very serious deficit problem.  If we are going to take a balanced approach to restoring fiscal security, I believe we must bring fairness to the tax code.

Udall: The Buffett Rule is about making sure millionaires and billionaires pay the same tax rate as middle-class families. It’s a critical component of tackling the deficit and strengthening our economy.

Wilson: Why doesWashington think the answer to every problem is higher taxes and more spending? They’re wrong. I would vote against the so-called Buffett Rule because raising taxes doesn’t create jobs, it just creates bigger government and more spending. Washington should spend less time on political gimmicks like this, and more time working to create jobs.”

Heinrich: The Buffett Rule goes a long way to make sure everyone gets a fair shot, pays their fair share, and that we all play by the same rules. The way to stimulate job growth is to make sure the middle class can afford to stop putting off buying that new refrigerator or getting the family car fixed, not by engaging in trickle down tax policies.

Balderas: New Mexicans have long known the nation’s tax system favors the wealthy with low rates and plentiful loopholes.  Enacting the Buffett Rule is an important step forward in making sure the richest among us pay their fair share.  I proudly support the Buffett Rule.  No millionaire should payer a lower tax rate than a middle class American.  That is an injustice, and it is wrong.

Greg Sowards: I see striking similarities to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) already in place.  Remember, it was put in place in 1969 to prevent 155 individuals from using loopholes in the tax code, but under current law the AMT will hit 30 Million Americans in 2012, killing job creation.  Raising taxes in a bad economy is never a good idea, and I would vote against it.