What: All Issues : Fair Taxation : S Con Res 21. (Fiscal 2008 budget resolution), Lott of Mississippi amendment on lowering the tax rate of the Alternative Minimum Tax/On agreeing to the amendment (2007 senate Roll Call 113)
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S Con Res 21. (Fiscal 2008 budget resolution), Lott of Mississippi amendment on lowering the tax rate of the Alternative Minimum Tax/On agreeing to the amendment
senate Roll Call 113     Mar 23, 2007
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

This vote occurred on an amendment by Trent Lott, R-Miss., that would lower the taxation rate of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) for individuals from the current rate of either 26 or 28 percent depending on circumstances, to 24 percent. This would return the AMT to the levels of taxation in place prior to 1993, when it was raised to its current level.

The AMT was devised in 1969 as a way to capture more tax revenues from a handful of very wealthy people so adept at using loopholes that they paid little into the federal treasury. But the program has come under scrutiny in recent years, because an increasing number of middle-class taxpayers have found themselves subject to the tax. This is largely because the AMT's formulas do not account for inflation or recent tax cuts.

"This is one last opportunity on this resolution to correct the mistake we made in 1993, which began in 1969 with the so-called alternative minimum tax. This was the guarantee that the wealthy paid their fair share, ostensibly, but it has morphed into a terrible tax on the middle class," Lott said.

The amendment was offered to the budget resolution that serves as the blueprint for Congress' budget priorities in fiscal 2008. The budget resolution sets overall spending targets for the Appropriations committees and outlines other budget rules.

Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., opposed Lott's amendment because it would cost the federal government $231 billion, without finding a way to make up that lost revenue. "The Lott amendment blows a hole in the budget because it is not paid for," Conrad said. "Let's not give up the gains we have made in these hours of work to balance the budget by 2012."

The amendment was defeated 50-49 on a mostly party line vote. All but one Democrat opposed the amendment (Ben Nelson of Nebraska). All but one Republican voted for it (George Voinovich of Ohio). Thus, the bill went forward without language that would have raised the rate of taxation of the AMT.

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