Monday, May 05, 2008

Cut Or Freeze

Nixon Claims Hulshof's Freeze Doesn't Go Far Enough
Hulshof Camp: Nixon "Does Not Address The Underlying Problem"
***UPDATE: Hancock Calls Nixon Claim "A Bold Face Lie"

Republican candidate for Governor Kenny Hulshof announced a plan Monday that would freeze property tax assessments for seniors making less than $52,000 a year.

Jay Nixon's campaign for Governor criticized Hulshof's property tax freeze for not going far enough. Earlier this year, the Attorney General announced a property tax cut that would benefit an estimated 65-thousand seniors and boost the maximum tax credit by $250.

After Hulshof announced his plan in St. Louis Monday, Nixon's campaign attempted an attack from the right on taxes. "Congressman Hulshof wants Missouri seniors to pay the same high property taxes they’re paying now. More of the same isn’t good enough for seniors struggling to stay in their homes," said Nixon spokesperson Oren Shur.

Hulshof's campaign said that the Congressman's plan would do more to give seniors certainty when it comes to their tax bill. Under the Hulshof plan, property tax rates for all seniors 65 and older would be frozen until the property is sold or transferred or the income of the owner exceeds $52,000 a year.

Hulshof spokesperson Scott Baker said Nixon's plan fails to address the problem over the long term.

"His plan does not address the underlying problem that seniors on a fixed income have to deal with every two years – higher assessments leading to ever-increasing property tax bills," said Baker. "Only when we address the root of the problem can our seniors have confidence that they can afford to live in their own homes," he added.

***UPDATE . . . Hulshof campaign manager John Hancock called to rebut Nixon's campaign claim that their tax plan would impact more people. Hancock called it "a bold-faced lie, and patently false."

Hancock said Nixon's plan only impacts those making $31,000 or less while "our plan is at $52,000." Hancock said they picked the $52,000 number because that's the highest average senior income of any county in Missouri. "By pure definition, it doesn't affect more seniors than our plan does. He can say it's better, more reasonable, more responsible. Those are all judgement calls, but he can't say it affects more people. It doesn't," Hancock added.

While he could not put an exact number on the amount of people Hulshof's plan would impact, Hancockwent back to the central comparative claim the Hulshof team is making. He said Nixon's plan only kicks in after a senior's reassessment goes up 5 percent. "So the new assessment is based on the higher rate. Your assessment keeps going up and up and up, even with the circuit breaker," Hancock said.

The "circuit breaker" Hancock is referring to is the $750 tax credit currently available that Nixon wants to bump up to $1000 once the assessment increases 5 percent.

"His is based on existing law. We've built ours on a different plan, and it's one of the boldest in the country. Your assessed value won't go up under our plan. The objective is to save the homestead of the Missouri senior," Hancock said.

Is it just me or does this sound like the current debate over the federal gas tax that the presidential candidates are having, with Jay Nixon playing Hillary Clinton and Kenny Hulshof as Barack Obama?

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