Rep. Cory Gardner and Sen. Mark Udall are locked in one of the most highly contested senate races in the country. According to the Real Clear Politics Average, Gardner leads Udall by less than one percentage point. While the polls couldn’t be closer, their positions on taxes are miles apart.

During yesterday’s debate, the moderator asked Sen. Udall to respond to Rep. Cory Gardner’s comments on taxes. Whereas Gardner said he didn’t believe higher taxes were necessary to reform the tax code, Udall came out in support of the Simpson-Bowles commission:

You all know, and I’ve worked with you and many of you in this room that I’ve been a longtime proponent of the Simpson-Bowles proposal…

This is the typical response one expects of a Senator who votes with President Obama 96% of the time. Not only is the Simpson-Bowles proposal a terrible idea, it has an explicit revenue target of 21 percent of GDP. Historically, tax revenues have averaged 18% of the economy (GDP). What Simpson-Bowles wants to achieve is a federal tax burden hitherto unheard-of in American history, and keep it there forever. To get an idea of the tax hike’s size, raising tax revenue by 1% would equate to a roughly $180 billion tax hike in the first year. 

Let’s not forget, Sen. Udall already voted for a trillion dollars in higher taxes with Obamacare. President Obama’s “signature” piece of legislation contains 20 new or higher taxes; including 5 that specifically target the middle class:

1. Obamacare Flexible Spending Account Tax

2. Obamacare High Medical Bills Tax

3. Obamacare Medicine Cabinet Tax

4. Obamacare Individual Mandate Non-Compliance Tax

5. Obamacare 10 Percent Excise Tax on Indoor Tanning

Below is a transcript of Rep. Gardner’s response to the question of higher taxes. His response is the appropriate and classic pro-taxpayer response. The government doesn’t have a revenue problem; it has a spending problem. There is no reason to raise taxes:

Moderator: One of the issues that you’ll have to deal with in the next Congress, Congressman Gardner, is taxes. The business community is of course concerned about that issue. But in 2009, you also signed Grover Norquist’s no tax increase pledge. While you have advocated for tax reform, would you oppose any tax reform deal that includes a dime of a net revenue increase from taxes?

Gardner: I don’t think increasing taxes is the answer. I think the federal government has plenty of money. We ought to focus on ways that we can actually reduce spending, make the federal government balance its own books, make sure the government is spending its money wisely the way it should be doing, before it turns around and asks the people of Colorado for one more dime of their hard earned dollars.

Look, if you just look at the bill that I introduced on wasteful spending, over two hundred billion dollars could be saved simply because we eliminated duplicative and overlapping programs. I support a balanced budget amendment to our Constitution. We must make sure that we are reducing spending, reforming taxes. We have to reform taxes; we have to make sure that small businesses are able to keep more of their own dollars in their own pockets to invest into job creation.

That’s why I support comprehensive tax reform. That’s why I believe that we can allow Coloradans to invest more money into their own ideas and their own families if they’re allowed to keep that money. Now, Senator Udall has voted for the largest estate tax increase in the history of our country, he’s voted for higher taxes time and time again. He had a balanced budget amendment that exempted a great degree of spending.  He likes to call himself a fiscal hawk, but Senator Udall I think you plucked the fiscal hawk when you voted for the stimulus bill.