Portman Talks Proposal

ST. MARYS — An Ohio senator says he supports a proposal from the Congressional supercommittee tasked with trimming the deficit that could eliminate tax breaks for the top two income brackets.

During a teleconference with regional media, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican, said he supports a proposal that would eliminate the tax cuts as part of a bipartisan effort to trim the federal deficit. Portman said in order for the supercommittee to reach a decision, any proposal must be bipartisan.

“There is a proposal on the table that does include pro-growth tax reform for individuals and businesses, it lowers the rates of taxes but also broadens the base,” Portman said. “In the context of that, there is also new revenue that is being offered. This would be by eliminating tax breaks for those in the top two brackets. Revenue would be coming from those who make over $200,000 to $250,000 a year as joint-filers. Otherwise it would be a revenue-neutral proposal.”

Portman called the inclusion of the tax breaks a bipartisan proposal that would keep what he called the largest tax increase in history from taking place. The proposal would keep intact the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts also known as the Bush Tax Cuts.

“It’s also matched by important reforms to entitlement programs that helps to preserve them for the future,” Portman said.

“It’s a balanced approach. As the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate Dirk Durbin from Illinois has said, it’s a breakthrough proposal. I don’t know what its result is going to be because right now we are waiting to hear back from Democrats on this. I think it’s a balanced proposal that has the kinds of important reforms to both the spending and tax side that have bipartisan support and that everyone acknowledges must be done in order for us to solve our record debts and deficit problems.”

Portman stressed the importance of creating a balanced proposal that could garner traction among his fellow supercommittee members as well as with members of Congress. Without a deal, Portman noted the nation’s economy could continue to fall.

“It includes significant reforms to our important entitlement programs so that they can be preserved,” Portman said.

“And it keeps the largest tax increase in history from happening next year. It’s also in the context of pro-growth tax reform all the way through the brackets that will help grow our economy ... This is an example of what can be done in a bipartisan basis to help get this economy moving and deal with our deficit and debt problem.”

Portman said changes to the entitlement programs remain under discussion.

“The consensus is that there have to be changes made in order to avoid a trust fund — specifically Social Security and Medicare — from becoming insolvent,” Portman said. “Also in order to get the deficit and debt under control, short term and longer term, those programs have to be reformed or else it’s impossible to change the trajectory of unsustainable spending.”

The Ohio senator also called on the Obama administration to play a more active role in the discussions.

“I think they should be helpful because I think that’s what’s best for the country,” Portman said.