Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Rating tax attacks in Pennsylvania Senate race

In the Pennsylvania Senate race, Democrat Joe Sestak ran an ad attacking Republican Pat Toomey for seeking zero corporate taxation

In their hard-fought race for a Pennsylvania Senate seat, Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Joe Sestak have attacked each other over tax policy.

In a Toomey ad, the Republican nominee charged that "Joe Sestak ... even wants to bring back the death tax, letting the IRS take half of your savings when you die."

We found some truth to Toomey's claim because Sestak supports reviving the estate tax, which was phased out earlier this year, albeit at a rate lower than it would be without Congressional action. However, we also concluded that Toomey exaggerated the scope of the tax, incorrectly implying that it would apply to far more taxpayers and that it would apply to their entire estates. On balance, we rated the ad Barely True.

Meanwhile, Sestak's ad features a video clip of Toomey saying, "Lets not tax corporations. ... I think the solution is to eliminate corporate taxes altogether."

We found that Sestak's charge was generally accurate, but we knocked it down a peg from True because we think viewers would be led to believe that Toomey is actively pushing zero corporate taxation as a campaign plank, when in fact he's said in several forums that he mainly wants to lower corporate taxes because it's a more practical political position. We rated it Mostly True.