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Debate Between Tammy Baldwin & Tommy Thompson Leaves Taxpayers With the Same Questions

Dan Barrett
October 29, 2012

As taxpayers in Wisconsin and across the country sat down to watch the debate between Congresswoman Baldwin and former Governor Thompson, they probably expected to see a conversation on each others’ to help grow the American economy, cut unemployment, and get the nation’s financial commitments on solid footing. However, the details Wisconsinites need to make the most informed decision on November 6th did not come from Baldwin or Thompson. Days before, NTUF released a line-by-line study of both candidates’ proposed agendas and how much the proposals might cost taxpayers. However, questions still remain:

  • Out of Tammy Baldwin’s 16 budget-influencing proposals, nine (or 56%) are too vague to determine how the federal government would be affected. 
  • Tommy Thompson would seek 22 new policies, but 13 (or 59%) remain to be detailed so that taxpayers can understand how much they would cost or save.

Here are a few points they need to clarify:

Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin:

  • Manufacturing: You said that your number one priority would be to get Americans back to work, especially in the manufacturing sector. However, besides shielding certain industries (like solar panel and auto parts producers) from foreign competition, it is unclear what bills you currently support or what specific measures you would seek to enact. Would you dedicate additional tax dollars for existing programs or would you create new ones?
  • Agriculture: Though not directly mentioned in the debate, what do you mean by eliminating farm subsidies for corporations? Do you have a set number of businesses or a profile of such firms that would no longer receive income support? How would this change the $16 billion annual amount dedicated to agricultural payouts?
  • Medicare: In the past and during the debate, you said that Medicare needs to be strengthened to guarantee longevity but it is unclear what, if anything, you would vote for to extend the program’s solvency. Taking the effects of the Affordable Care Act into account, what reforms would you support with regards to Medicare? 

Former Governor Tommy Thompson:

  • The Budget: You said your number one task would be to balance the federal budget. With your endorsement of the House’s Path to Prosperity budget, do you have a top five (or ten) list of spending reductions that the committees would be required to come up with each year?
  • The Tax Code: Mentioned only once, you have said that you would support multiple reforms to the Tax Code including changes to how individuals would be able to utilize deductions. Which, if any, refundable credits would you seek to reduce or eliminate? Please be specific.
  • Medicaid: You have said in campaign literature that you would block-grant Medicaid. Speaking in terms of spending, would you cap current spending or would there be plans to reduce spending in the future as well? 

Hopefully the candidates can clarify their agendas in the next week. In the meantime, you can watch their final debate here and check out the key findings of NTUF’s Senate race study here.


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