During an interview Thursday on MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan Show, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said the following:
"Do I believe we have to raise taxes to be able to get a deal to cut spending? Yeah."
Coburn’s tax hike statement echoes his recent comments as a guest on C-SPAN’s Newsmakers program. The guest reporters for this edition of Newsmakers were Lori Montgomery of the Washington Post and Andrew Taylor of the Associated Press. Below are key excerpts from the interview:
Coburn: “We’re never going to get 25% net taxes to the federal government. People, they’re just not going to do it, it has never happened and it won’t happen. But does not mean there is not a case for increasing the revenue of the federal government at a time when our whole future is based on the fact that we need to solve this problem. And to have people who say you can never do that, even if the lifeblood of our Republic depends on it, to get a compromise, we will never get the changes that need to be made in the mandatory programs without giving something. And the thing we have to give is some revenue increases.”
Lori Montgomery, the Washington Post: “Sticking with taxes for just a minute. I think this is a critical question because Democrats want to see something – forget about economic growth – they want to see a tax structure that actually raises additional revenue, recognizing that we have an aging population and the retirement programs are going to cost more. Can you and your Republican colleagues go for a tax reform proposal that does in fact increase revenue?”
Coburn: “Yeah, we’ve already said that.”
Coburn: “I would much rather have a smaller government. Not everybody would. But I would much rather have a smaller government. But I know we have to pay more for what we have if we are ever going to get reform and some of the other things. It’s called a compromise. So we’re gonna have to give some on revenues to be able to do that.”
Coburn: “Why will I take on those that are against tax increases for Republicans? Because it’s the right thing to do to save our country.”
Coburn: “I’ve been just as vocal supporting revenue increases after I left the commission as I was before. I’m not opposed to that cause I think that’s the only way we solve our problems. That’s the only way we build a consensus in the Senate to get some of the changes. But I’m not gonna go for revenue increases if we’re not gonna fix the problem.”
Lori Montgomery, the Washington Post: “I think one of the most significant things we’ve learned is that Tom Coburn is willing to go for a tax reform scenario that actually raises revenues. His Republican colleagues have been very careful to say ‘well, we want to reform the tax system, but we only want to raise more money through economic growth.’ What Dr. Coburn told us today is ‘you know, that’s not going to be enough, that’s not going to solve our problems. I’m willing to actually increase the portion of the economy that goes to government.’ That’s a big change.”
(To watch the interview in its entirety, click here).