ThinkProgress filed this report from the Western Republican Leadership Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle (R) declared late last week that she could “never” support a tax on millionaires if elected to the Senate next year. In an interview with ThinkProgress at the Western Republican Leadership Conference, Lingle, who is currently vying to replace Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI), expressed her opposition to a tax on millionaires. President Obama has proposed using the tax to fund the American Jobs Act, which would put 1.9 million Americans back to work.
Lingle objected to the phrase “millionaire’s tax,” preferring instead to call it a tax on small business. “I could never support something like that,” said the former two-term governor:
KEYES: It sounds like you’re against the millionaire’s tax that President Obama has proposed?
LINGLE: I guess I’d have to explain a little bit about my state to you, Scott. In my state, the majority of businesses are small businesses. The majority of them report their income as personal income. So while people may want to call it a “millionaire’s tax,” in fact, it’s a tax on small business, because almost every business in Hawaii will report their income as personal income. They have an LLC, they have a sole proprietorship, and that means if their business only earns $250,000, now they have to pay higher taxes at a time they’re struggling to keep people employed. So for me, they put that label on it, others put that label. I call it a small business tax, and therefore I could never support something like that.
Listen to it:
Conflating millionaires and small businesses in order to argue against increasing taxes on the wealthy is a common tactic on the right. However, as ThinkProgress economics editor Pat Garofalo explained in U.S. News & World Report, “fewer than 2 percent of small businesses make enough to file in the top two income tax brackets.”
A millionaires tax isn’t just supported in Hawaii, one of the most liberal states; it’s supported across the country. Polls regularly show overwhelming support for raising taxes on the wealthy — 73 percent of Americans, including two-thirds of Republicans, supported the idea in a September poll. Under the American Jobs Act, that money would be used to put 5,000 construction workers and teachers back to work in Hawaii.