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Deb Fischer Is No Friend Of The Middle Class

In a recent interview on KFAB radio, State Senator Deb Fischer said that: "I don't believe we should be raising taxes at all. As you know, I've been against raising taxes." These remarks came up in the context of her criticism of Senator Bob Kerrey's Social Security rescue plan which includes some modest tax increases on people who earn six figure incomes. Just what is Fischer's record on taxes? Has she always been against raising taxes?

Fischer would only like you to know that she has signed off on corporate lobbyist Grover Norquist's no new taxes pledge. By signing this pledge, Fischer has taken the position that she will not vote for a tax increase (or otherwise compromise) in an effort to find a solution to our nation's deficit and spending problems. That is an irresponsible position to take in light of our country's serious financial problems. Is that no new taxes pledge the only thing we know about Fischer's attitude towards tax increases?

Many people would be surprised to find out that Fischer has supported numerous middle class tax increases during her eight years in the Nebraska Legislature and has even voted to give herself a big property tax cut. Fischer's tax record contains a record of supporting a long list of middle class tax increases:

  • In 2008, Fischer voted against a bill that would've exempted $325 million in sales taxes for Omaha area residents.
  • Fischer has voted to increase gas taxes 12 times.
  • Fischer produced a report which contained no fewer than 31 tax increases on the middle class, including tax increases on food and soda pop.

Fischer's record regarding property taxes is especially appalling. In 2007, Fischer voted for a bill that gave property tax credits to landowners as opposed to a credit that would benefit homeowners. The biggest beneficiary of this property tax plan was Ted Turner - the ex-husband of "Hanoi" Jane Fonda, a billionaire, and one of the state's largest landowners - who receives a yearly tax cut of nearly $100,000.

Fischer herself has made out very nicely thanks to this legislation.

Because she and her husband own over $3 million in property, they have saved $2,400.00 per year on their property taxes. In contrast, the average home owner in Fischer's home county receives a property tax credit of $70.26 per year.

If you were only to listen to Fischer and the Republicans you would think that Bob Kerrey's record on taxes is as bad as Fischer's. Once again, Fischer isn't telling you the entire story. It's true that Senator Kerrey voted for the 1993 budget which balanced the budget and created an economic boom. What they're not telling you is that Senator Kerrey voted for the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997. This law enlarged the child tax credit, cut capital gains taxes, reduced taxes on the sale of one's personal residence and cut estate taxes. This tax cut contributed to the greatest peacetime boom in U.S. history.

The record is clear that Deb Fischer is no friend of the middle class tax payer. She has repeatedly voted for regressive taxes that burden the middle class. What she told KFAB radio earlier this week was simply false.

In contrast, Senator Kerrey has made the tough choices on the budget in the past and is telling us the truth about the tough choice ahead if we're to balance the budget and save Social Security. The choice for the voters this fall is clear. They can either vote for Bob Kerrey - who is part of the solution. Or Deb Fischer - who is part of the problem.

Dennis Crawford is our newly elected 2nd Associate Chair. He will begin serving his term on the NDP's executive board at the first State Central Committee meeting following November's election. Thank you to Dennis for his contribution to the NDP's blog.


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