President Obama travels Thursday to Orlando where he’ll challenge Mitt Romney on what’s normally considered Republican ideological turf: debt and taxes.
Obama got considerable help — and new stump speech material — on Wednesday from a new study by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center that showed those earning more than $1 million could save about $87,000 in taxes under Romney’s plan, which reduces income tax rates by 20 percent across the board.
But those who earn less than $200,000 would actually see their taxes increase by as much as $1,339 under Romney’s plan, the study estimated, because they could lose popular tax breaks for employer health insurance, mortgage interest and state and local taxes.
Obama’s campaign hours later released a Florida-centric companion report, based on a previous Tax Policy Center analysis, that estimated Romney’s plan would raise taxes on 7.6 million Florida households.
Romney’s campaign disputed the reports and took issue with the Tax Policy Center’s methodology because it didn’t factor in the savings in Romney’s proposed spending and it didn’t analyze the positive economic effects of reducing corporate taxes.
Romney’s policy director, Lanhee Chen, criticized one of the report’s three authors, who had previously worked in the Obama White House.
“This is just another biased study from a former Obama staffer that ignores critical parts of Governor Romney’s tax reform program, which will help the middle class and promote faster economic growth,” said Chen said in a written statement.
“The study analyzes only half of Governor Romney’s tax program,” Chen said, “ignoring the reforms that would make America’s corporations more competitive by moving from the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world to one that is comparable to our trading partners.”
The Romney campaign hasn’t always criticized the Tax Policy Center, which it cited in a November email for providing an “Objective, Third-Party Analysis.”
Nor did the Romney campaign provide more details about specific spending cuts or the types of tax write-offs or subsidies it would eliminate to make Romney’s tax plan revenue neutral and not add to the budget deficit.
While Romney has attacked Obama over tax increases in Obama’s federal health care law and deficits under the president’s watch, Obama has steadily stepped up his attacks on Romney for failing to disclose multiple years of personal income tax returns.
Stump speeches, interviews and a barrage of new television ads highlight Obama’s overarching strategy: Paint Romney as an out-of-touch millionaire whose policies will help the rich at the expense of the middle-class.
“He’s asking you to pay more so that people like him can get a big tax cut,” Obama said Wednesday in a campaign speech in Ohio, referencing the Tax Policy Center study.
Romney aides said the president will have trouble persuading voters to believe the Republican is less trustworthy than the president, who promised to cut the deficit in half but failed.
The Tax Policy Center analyst who came under fire, Adam Looney, said the study isn’t partisan. It was written with two other experts and was reviewed at the center, which is directed by a former economic advisor to Republican President George W. Bush.