ECONOMY

Biden’s Tax Pledge Limits Options for Infrastructure Deal


WASHINGTON—President Biden’s pledge not to raise taxes on households making under $400,000 helped get him elected and shaped an administration tax plan aimed at corporations and high-income households. Now, that pledge is narrowing the path toward a bipartisan deal on infrastructure.

The White House, citing the pledge and its preference for taxing corporations and high-income people, nixed calls for higher gasoline taxes and user fees to finance a roughly $1 trillion infrastructure proposal. That resistance, combined with Republicans’ blanket antitax posture, has left beefed-up Internal Revenue Service enforcement as the main tax option under consideration.

Mr. Biden repeated the $400,000 promise during the election campaign to rebut Republican claims that he would raise taxes broadly. He focused attention on the top 2% of households who could pay more under his plans, attempting to emphasize an economic philosophy aimed at fighting inequality.

John Anzalone, Mr. Biden’s chief campaign pollster, cited recent polling by his firm, ALG Research, and Hart Research Associates, showing a majority of respondents supporting raising taxes on those making more than $400,000 a year to pay for Mr. Biden’s agenda, which would expand federal spending on roads, broadband, preschool and community college.

“Middle-class voters are pissed off that they are always shouldering the burden,” he said. “The president has driven this as an agenda item and as economic policy.”

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