Thursday, February 24, 2022

Scott’s ‘Rescue America’ plan falls flat. (Politico)

Watching America's richest United States Senator, Florida's RICHARD LYNN SCOTT, taking a stab at public policy is alarming.  

Chair of the NRSC, snooty RICK SCOTT, before publishing his stab in the back to the American people. checked in with no other Senators.  He certainly did not ask Floridians. 

SCOTT's eleven-point plan is a sham.  

SCOTT is a disgrace to the human race.

From Politico:

Scott’s ‘Rescue America’ plan falls flat

Privately, officials from some top GOP campaigns mocked the plan, questioning why the Florida senator released it in the first place.

Sen. Rick Scott speaks alongside Sen. Mike Crapo.


02/23/2022 12:44 PM EST

Sen. Rick Scott’s new “11 Point Plan to Rescue America” didn’t quite receive the enthusiastic reception he was counting on.

Democrats and op-ed columnists jeered Tuesday at the conservative blueprint that, in part, proposed raising income taxes on low-income Americans. But GOP Senate campaigns didn’t want to touch it either. There was no rallying around the National Republican Senatorial Committee chair’s new platform, which was unveiled with strategic news stories, a website and video.

Privately, officials from some top Republican Senate campaigns mocked the plan, questioning why the Florida Republican senator released it in the first place — and why the GOP would ever suggest raising taxes at all during a midterm year featuring record-high inflation and unpopular Democratic control.

POLITICO contacted 27 Republican Senate campaigns asking whether their candidate agreed with the income tax proposal outlined in Scott’s new plan — just a single Senate candidate provided an official position on the details: Rep. Billy Long, a Missouri Republican seeking to replace retiring GOP Sen. Roy Blunt. The income tax point was out of the question, he said.

“I agree with former Missourian Sen. Rick Scott that we need a plan before we take back the Senate, and while I agree with 95% of it, this suggested income tax hike is ill advised,” Long said in a statement, referring to Scott’s time living in Missouri as a college student and young adult. “Inflation is a huge tax increase on all Americans already, so Joe Biden already beat Rick to the punch on raising taxes.”

Long then described a recent trip to Dick’s Sporting Goods for ammunition, when he walked out empty-handed after noticing the price had nearly doubled.

“Every time folks purchase anything the sales tax meter is spinning,” Long said. “I vote no to any income tax increase.”

Three other Republican Senate campaigns — for Rep. Mo Brooks in Alabama, Chuck Morse in New Hampshire and Adam Laxalt in Nevada — replied with general comments that their candidates oppose raising taxes.

“His entire career, Mo Brooks has fought tax increases because he believes money belongs in the hands of the people who earned it, not the government,” said Brooks’ campaign spokesperson Will Hampson, before proceeding to attack Brooks’ opponent Katie Britt, who supported a 2019 Republican-led gas tax increase as head of the Business Council of Alabama.

Both Brooks, who is endorsed by Trump, and Britt, who did not respond to a request for comment, have signed Americans for Tax Reform’s pledge not to increase taxes if elected.

“I don’t support tax increases on anyone,” Laxalt said in a statement, noting that he too had signed ATR’s pledge.

Scott, a business owner and former Florida governor, didn’t elaborate in his plan about what, exactly, his proposed tax hike would include.

“All Americans should pay some income tax to have skin in the game, even if a small amount,” Scott wrote in the plan. “Currently over half of Americans pay no income tax.”

Tax experts took notice, pointing out that Scott’s suggestion was reminiscent of comments then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney made during the 2012 election when he derided “47 percent” of Americans who “pay no income tax” and “should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

“I suspect it was not a well-vetted part of that platform that he put out,” said Ryan Ellis, president of the conservative Center for a Free Economy and an IRS enrolled agent who previously worked as Americans For Tax Reform’s tax policy director.

“Had it been — internally to the Senate, and externally to the conservative tax world and other friends of Rick Scott and the NRSC — I don’t think it would have survived.”

The NRSC clarified Tuesday that the plan was released by Scott in his capacity as a senator, not as the Senate committee leader.

It’s “a boomer talking point,” Ellis said, to discuss raising taxes for the roughly half of Americans who don’t have to pay federal income taxes because they are low-income, senior citizens or have children and tax credits that offset their income tax liability. Many of those people already pay payroll and excise taxes.

The topic had been part of a decade-long policy debate on the right leading up to the 2012 election, Ellis said, but effectively came to an end after that.

Former President Donald Trump won on nearly an opposite message: cutting taxes for lower-income households.

“Tax increases — our voters don’t dig tax increases,” said Dave Carney, a Republican strategist in New Hampshire. “To be fair to [Scott], I don’t know what the hell the context is. Generally, taxes are not very popular with Republicans.”

Carney is serving as the consultant for Morse, the president of the New Hampshire state Senate who is seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan, a key race in the GOP’s fight to gain a seat and take control of the Senate.

Morse, who also has signed Americans For Tax Reform’s candidate pledge not to raise taxes, wasn’t able to read Scott’s lengthy document Tuesday, but Carney said his candidate wouldn’t get behind an initiative to raise income taxes.

As a former NRSC official, Carney noted the committee put out a multi-point platform ahead of the 1994 midterm elections, a plan that complemented House Republicans’ Contract With America that year. The Senate plan was “negotiated over months,” Carney recalled, receiving input from incumbents and all the Republican nominees that year.

 A spokesperson for Scott confirmed he did not collaborate with other senators on the new platform.

Democrats wasted no time attacking Republicans over Scott’s plan. By Wednesday morning, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee was out with a radio ad — set to run on Pandora, iHeart Radio and podcasts — highlighting the new Republican plan to raise the income tax.

Curt Anderson, a Republican consultant who works with Scott and the NRSC, defended the plan Tuesday, saying “it’s not a typo — it’s a concept” when asked whether the income tax point was included in error.

“I don’t see why that’s so racy, if they have to pay $10 in taxes a year,” Anderson said of the idea of requiring low-income workers — but not retirees — to be on the hook for some amount of income taxes, even a nominal payment.

“When you get to the point when there’s more people in the cart than pulling the cart in the country, there’s a problem,” Anderson said.

Scott released a statement Tuesday evening that appeared to backtrack on his position that all Americans should be paying an income tax, explaining he did not believe retirees needed to pay more and that his plan refers to “the willing-to-work shortage caused by Joe Biden and the Democrats who decided to pay people more not to work.”

Anderson fired back at the whisper campaign of consultants suggesting Scott’s plan would be twisted by Democrats and used against Republicans this fall. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has notably declined to release a legislative agenda, saying Senate Republicans would do so after their 2022 victory.

Scott had opened his new video with clips of prominent Democrats noting that Republicans haven’t released a comprehensive plan of their policy goals.

Anderson said he didn’t mind that senators and candidates appeared unimpressed by Scott’s surprise platform, suggesting that voters outside of D.C. are hungry to hear what Republicans will do if they take back power.

“Who cares?” Anderson said. “Rick’s attitude is we need to start somewhere and we need to have a plan.”

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