Election coverage: Candidates differ on taxes, Social Security

 

Election coverage: Candidates differ on taxes, Social Security

 

Date: October 27, 2010
by: Robin Roy | Staff Writer

 
 

Former Bradenton city Councilman James Golden faces a tough task in trying to unseat Rep. Vern Buchanan, who is running for his third term. Defeating an incumbent is difficult enough, but for Golden, being a Democrat in a largely Republican district during a time when Washington has stirred up anti-Democratic feelings around the country, the task is much more difficult.

Rep. Vern Buchanan
(Republican)
Age: 59
Hometown: Inkster, Mich.
Family: Married with two children
Education: Bachelor’s and doctorate degrees in business administration from Cleary University
Career: Businessman

What should voters know about the differences between you and your opponent?

I am a businessman who has created jobs, met payrolls and balanced budgets. I know what it takes to make our economy strong and create jobs, and I know what hampers economic growth — higher taxes, more regulations and ballooning deficits. I support smaller government, lower taxes, less spending and free enterprise.
 
What would be your position if oil companies drill 10 miles off the Gulf Coast, just outside of state waters
?
I oppose drilling off our Gulf Coast and instead support drilling in oil-rich reserves in Alaska. Drilling off the Florida coast is too risky and could threaten our natural resources, which are vital to our tourism-based economy and quality of life. There are more appropriate areas to drill, such as the Artic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska, which contains the single-largest deposit of oil in the entire United States — almost half the nation’s oil reserves. Additionally, we must promote conservation and the development of alternative fuels and work together as part of a bipartisan effort to make our country more energy independent.
 
What’s your position on Florida’s lawsuit against the federal government over its health-care plan?

I support the lawsuit.
 
What’s your position on President Obama’s health-care plan — repeal it, modify it or keep it as is?

The new health-care law doesn’t do enough to lower the cost of health care.   What it does do is raise taxes, cut Medicare, expand government control of health care and increase the federal deficit. Congress should repeal and replace the new health-care law with commonsense reforms, such as allowing kids to stay on their parents’ plan longer, prohibiting insurance companies from discriminating on the basis of pre-existing conditions, legal reform, allowing insurance to be sold across state lines and association health plans that allow small businesses to pool resources and lower the cost of health insurance. 
 
What spending cuts would you support to help balance the budget?

I have introduced legislation to repeal the “Louisiana Purchase” and other unseemly spending attached to the new health-care law. My bill would save almost $3 billion by targeting the half-dozen sweetheart deals added to secure enough votes to pass the bill. I voted to cut $2.9 billion for an unnecessary alternative engine for the F-35 that isn’t wanted by the Pentagon. I also voted against President Bush’s effort to triple spending over five years to fund AIDS programs in Africa from $15 billion to nearly $50 billion. I support global efforts to fight AIDS, but we can’t afford an increase of this size. I would reduce funding to its previous level.        
 
What specific steps would you recommend to boost economic and job growth in the U.S.?

Jobs and the economy are the most important issue. I introduced a five-point jobs plan to provide tax relief and increase capital for small businesses, which create 70% of the jobs in this country. We also need to diversify our economy. I have been working to help position Port Manatee to take advantage of the ongoing expansion of the Panama Canal, which could help double the number of good paying jobs associated with the Port to 40,000.
 
What’s your position on the war in Afghanistan? What, if any, changes would you recommend to our current strategy?

I have visited Afghanistan and met personally with our generals and military personnel in the field. The Taliban is a destabilizing force in Afghanistan, with ties to al-Qaida. Failure in Afghanistan would add to instability in the Middle East and make America less safe. I want to bring our troops home as soon as possible and look forward to the day when Afghanistan can lead security efforts in that country. In the meantime, I support the president’s decision to provide additional combat troops in the region to enable the counterinsurgency strategy, focusing both on al-Qaida and the Taliban to succeed.
 
Medicare and Social Security are broke. What do you recommend be done with them for future generations?
Florida’s 13th District is home to nearly 350,000 senior citizens and nearly 177,000 seniors age 65 and up — more than any other congressional district. Their health and financial security are among my top priorities in Congress. The $1.3 trillion federal deficit and $13 trillion national debt threaten our ability to keep the promises we have made to our seniors. We also need bipartisan reform to help ensure the retirement security of today’s seniors and future generations.
 
Will you agree to the Americans for Tax Reform Taxpayer Protection pledge: ‘I pledge to the taxpayers of the 13th District, of the state of Florida that I will oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.’
I am opposed to higher taxes. 


The Rev. James Golden
(Democrat)

Age: 62
Hometown: Jacksonville
Family: Married with six children and 12 grandchildren
Education: Bachelor’s degree in business administration from Stetson University, law degree from University of Florida, master of divinity degree from Atlanta University
Career: Minister and attorney

What should voters know about the differences between you and your opponent?

I do not support the privatization of Social Security. According to a 2006 AARP survey, my opponent supported the privatization initiatives of President Bush, who now recalls these rejected efforts as his biggest failure. I believe (health-care legislation) can, must and should be improved upon. My opponent has claimed publicly that he has spoken to most of the doctors in the district and that they, along with 70% of the people in the district, oppose reform. Even if this claim is true, I do not believe that this means that they would support repeal now. In fact, every doctor, fiscal officer and patient that I have spoken to states it is way too early to be talking about repeal.

I support Wall Street reform efforts, consumer-protection reform for Main Street, equal pay for women, higher tariffs to offset the ballooning trade deficits and campaign-finance reform.

What would be your position if oil companies drill 10 miles off the Gulf Coast, just outside of state waters?
I would oppose any future drilling outside of state waters, without prior consent from the applicable state by referendum, followed by sufficient surety before drilling began. I will promote legislation toward this end.

What’s your position on Florida’s lawsuit against the federal government over its health-care plan?
I do not support the use of taxpayers’ dollars for this politically motivated lawsuit. Instead of the state carrying water for the insurance industry, I would rather the money be used to educate people and facilitate compliance with the law.

What’s your position on President Obama’s health-care plan — repeal it, modify it or keep it as is?
I do not support the immediate repeal of our health-care reform legislation. I believe it should be improved upon.
 
What spending cuts would you support to help balance the budget?
We need to redirect as much of our defense spending as possible without reducing our ability to defend ourselves or assist our friends. We need to cut incentives to corporations that shift jobs overseas. We need to make the estate tax more equitable and permanent. We need to become more aggressive in pursuing and criminally punishing Medicare fraud. We need to reform our income-tax code.

What specific steps would you recommend to boost economic and job growth in the U.S.?
1. Tax incentives for companies that are re-educating their work force and retooling their facilities to become green and more competitive globally. 2. Support for our education system to accelerate learning at every level and prepare students of all ages to compete globally. 3. Immediate small-business lending assistance, which was just passed by the House without the support of my opponent.

What’s your position on the war in Afghanistan? What, if any, changes would you recommend to our current strategy?
I would support any funding necessary to facilitate bringing the troops home sooner than the present July 2011 date set to begin withdrawal. I will not support any funding that extends this date or changes our purpose. I support intensifying pressure to eradicate violent radicals, whose stated goals are to eradicate us.

Medicare and Social Security are broke. What do you recommend be done with them for future generations?
I do not agree that Medicare and Social Security are broke. It is possible that they could be broke for the next generation of retirees if we do not make some changes in our laws to protect them now. However, frightening seniors today for political advantage will not produce the progress we need to make to protect ourselves tomorrow. I believe that we as a nation have always risen to the challenge of providing a better tomorrow for our children than the yesterdays we have lived through.

Will you agree to the Americans for Tax Reform Taxpayer Protection pledge: ‘I pledge to the taxpayers of the 13th District, of the state of Florida that I will oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.’
I do not support the extension of reduced tax rates beyond 2010 for persons earning more than $250,000. My opponent supports extending these reduced tax rates on the basis that somehow this will stimulate small-business hiring, create more capital investment and help reduce our deficits. However, during the entire decade that these reduced tax rates have been in effect, unemployment has steadily risen, capital investments have continually decreased and our deficits have increased monumentally, in spite of that fact that when the decade began we had a budget surplus. We cannot go afford to go back to the future.





 

 

SHARE
Login Register now

Currently 0 Responses

Login below to post a comment or click register.
Account E-Mail
Password
forgot password? click here
Speak Your Mind Below!

Classifieds

YourObserver
Subscribe to our eNewsletters
1970 Main Street, Sarasota, FL 34236 941-366-3468

Copyright 2014 The Observer Group Inc., All Rights Reserved