Democrats somewhat confident over taxes

August 17, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he's confident republicans will give on the issue of raising revenues, but he backed away from calling it a "tax increase," and today Senator Barbara Boxer did the same.

President Obama says he wants to repeal tax cuts for the rich, and that's about as close to raising taxes as democratic politicians want to get.

On Wednesday, Senator Barbara Boxer stood in front of the new Caldecott Tunnel that's being dug, calling on Congress to re-authorize the federal gasoline tax that pays for highway projects.

"This is a terrific program," said Boxer. "I'm so proud that the stimulus made it possible. It's working. It's going to benefit everybody and we need to do more things like this.

Reid told ABC7 republicans have signaled they'll compromise on taxes.

"What do you think moved the republicans on the revenue issue?" Reid questioned. "The American people. Everyone knows a major article in one of the Washington publications yesterday about the Tea Party's popularity-diving, nose-diving significantly."

The latest poll by the New York Times and CBS News shows the Tea Party is viewed unfavorably by a margin of two-to-one, and 43 percent of Americans say the Tea Party has too much of an influence on the Republican Party. That's nearly double from a year ago.

But it's a testament to their power, that even in the liberal-leaning San Francisco Bay Area, we had no trouble finding people opposed to raising taxes even on the rich.

"I think they should not because, as you look at the percentage of money that comes from the wealthy, over 50 percent of all that we take in in new revenues from individuals comes from wealthy people," said Tracy resident Paul Root.

"I think the government needs to figure out another way to fix the deficit we have," said San Francisco resident Molly Selfridge.

When Senator Feinstein called on residents of the Tahoe Basin to anti up $300 million on Tuesday, she was clear it wouldn't involve property taxes. Wednesday, Senator Boxer admitted getting a tax increase through Congress probably wouldn't fly.

"If it's called a 'tax increase,' they would probably have a problem," Boxer said, "but if we call it 'tax reform' or 'loophole closing,' hopefully we can do that."

Call it what you can: The president does have a big bargaining chip. The Bush-era tax cuts are due to expire at the end of next year. Obama could let those cuts expire, and republicans would have a very hard time reinstating them.

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