DES MOINES, JAN. 6 -- Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.) issued a domestic policy white paper today in which he listed five kinds of federal taxes or fees he would impose as a last resort to balance the budget, and two others he would propose in any case.
It was his first detailed accounting of his domestic platform and it indicated a greater tolerance for new revenues than his campaign speeches of the past several months have indicated.
Simon has said on the campaign trail that he does not think any new taxes will be needed to meet his pledge of balancing the federal budget by the third year of his administration.
While he repeated that statement in the white paper, he also paired it with a major new qualification.
"When I examine the budget I inherit and find that a larger down payment will be necessary to balance the budget, I will not duck the hard choices on the revenue side . . . . If necessary, increases I would consider include:"A tax increase of undisclosed size on the wealthiest 1 percent of taxpayers (individuals making more than $100,000 per year or a family of four getting more than $193,000 per year). Each increase of 1 percent on the tax rate of these individuals would raise $2 billion.
An oil-import fee of $5 per barrel, which would raise $9 billion.
A cigarette tax increase of 10 cents a pack, raising $2.5 billion.
A tax on income earned in the United States by citizens and corporations of other nations, raising $5 billion.
Requiring corporations with overseas plants to pay taxes on a current-year basis, rather than imposing taxes only when the money is returned to the United States.
Although Simon refers to these taxes as a last resort, he also made it clear he would consider imposing them in the first year of his three-year plan.
In addition, under the category of pay-as-you-go investments, Simon proposed a 6-cent increase in federal gasoline taxes, which he said would create 200,000 new jobs in highway construction and road repair.
Simon also pledged that as president he would develop a self-financing plan for long-term health care for the elderly, patterned after a bill he is sponsoring to entend the 1.45 percent Medicare payroll tax to persons with income of more than $45,000.
Simon is the only candidate in either party to issue a firm three-year pledge to balance the budget, although he might renege if there were a recession.
Simon estimated that he would have to achieve $90 billion in deficit reduction by the third year. He called for a 7 percent cut in defense spending, which would amount to $20 billion in savings. He would accomplish that, he said, by reforming procurement procedures, by cutting two proposed new aircraft carriers and by cutting funds for the MX missile, antisatellite systems and the Strategic Defense Initiative.
He also proposed a series of administrative measures to cut the trade deficits, and said doing so would produce two million jobs.