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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Still Clubbing Trump on Taxes

A rereleased TV ad says Donald Trump “supports higher taxes,” even though Trump has issued a tax plan, since the ad originally aired, that would significantly cut taxes for individuals and businesses.

The 30-second ad, called “Politician,” comes from Club for Growth Action, the super PAC of the conservative political advocacy group Club for Growth. The PAC will spend almost $1 million to air the anti-Trump ad on broadcast, cable and satellite television in Oklahoma and Arkansas, as well as online, beginning Feb. 24, according to a news release.

If the ad looks or sounds familiar, that is because the group released the exact same ad last year. We wrote about it on Sept. 25, but that was before Trump unveiled his tax plan. Now that he has, the ad’s claim has even less support since Trump’s tax proposal would lower income taxes, not raise them, according to analyses by two nonpartisan organizations.

The claim that Trump “supports higher taxes” is based on a Feb. 15, 2000, article in The Advocate in which Trump stated, “My plan to impose a onetime net worth tax of 14.25 percent on the super-wealthy, when combined with our current projected surpluses, will raise enough to pay off the national debt.”

But that was 16 years ago, and Trump isn’t advocating anything like that now. (We contacted Club for Growth Action to ask if the claim was based on anything else this time, but we did not receive a response.)

In fact, Trump’s tax plan, which he released on Sept. 28, after the ad first aired in Iowa, includes significant tax cuts for individuals and businesses alike.

Under the Trump plan, there would be four income tax brackets instead of the current seven. The top marginal income tax rate would go from 39.6 percent to 25 percent, and single filers making $25,000 or less, or married couples making $50,000 or less, wouldn’t be required to pay any income tax. For businesses, Trump would cut the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent, which would also apply to pass-through businesses.

As we wrote before, Trump’s plan wouldn’t be “revenue neutral,” as he claimed. However, it “would cut taxes and lead to higher after-tax incomes for taxpayers at all levels of income,” according to an analysis by the nonpartisan, pro-business Tax Foundation.

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center also said Trump’s plan “would cut taxes at all income levels” by “significantly reduc[ing] marginal tax rates on individuals and businesses, increas[ing] standard deduction amounts to nearly four times current levels, and curtail[ing] many tax expenditures.”

It’s hard to see how that equates to supporting higher taxes, as the ad still claims.