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By Jake Berry October 18, 2012

Democrats point to votes om Ryan budget as evidence Rep. Frank Guinta wants to tax middle class

Despite his claims, U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta is no friend of the working man or woman, according to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. And his vote on this year’s House budget proves it, the Democratic group charged in an ad released on New Hampshire airwaves.

"Say you're a regular person with a regular job," a narrator says in the ad, "Regular," which launched Monday on WMUR-TV in New Hampshire. "Frank Guinta voted to make you pay over a $1,000 more a year in taxes.

"Frank Guinta is looking out for them, not you," the ad concludes.

The Guinta campaign quickly disputed the ad, calling it "false" and "misleading," and asking WMUR to remove it from the air.

The DCCC stood by its ad, pointing to an ABC News report from August to support the claim. And WMUR said it has no plans to pull the ad.

The ABC News story, aired August 14, referenced a report from the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee that suggested the House Republicans’ 2013 budget proposal would raise taxes on middle class families.

The Joint Committee report, prepared by the staff of the committee chairman, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), concludes the House budget proposal, headed by Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Paul Ryan, would raise taxes by $1,358 on households with an income between $50,000-$100,000.

Guinta voted March 29 in favor of Ryan’s budget proposal, which passed the House but stalled in the Senate. So the Joint Committee’s numbers match the DCCC claim. But, according to some analysts, the committee used some funny math to reach its conclusions.

As noted in past PolitiFact reports, the Casey report assumes, without knowing, House Republicans would eliminate deductions on state and local taxes, mortgage interest and charitable contributions, among others.

In the budget, Ryan, like his presidential running mate, included few specifics regarding tax deductions and other expenditures. But, keeping the budget revenue neutral, as Ryan has stressed, would require the elimination of these and other deductions, according to Joint Committee economists.

"The remaining large tax expenditures … all deliver significant benefits to the middle class, and removing these tax expenditures would hit middle-income taxpayers hard," they wrote in the report.

Still, to make those assumptions was too big a leap for other tax analysts.

The business-backed Tax Foundation, which did not conduct its own review of the Ryan budget, had no competing figures to offer. But, foundation economists still offered a critical review of the Joint Committee report.

"(The analysis) is quite speculative in that it assumes certain things about the plan that were not specified publicly," William McBride, the foundation’s chief economist, wrote in an email to PolitiFact New Hampshire. "It also assumes no economic growth."

In its analysis, the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, did not assume the elimination of any deductions or expenditures.

The review, published in March, concluded that middle class families, earning between $50,000-$75,000 a year, would see a $975 tax cut under Ryan’s plan, while families earning $75,000-100,000 would average a decrease of$1,692.

But, unlike the Joint Committee report, the center review wasn’t intended to project the tax impacts of the budget proposal, according to Joseph Rosenberg, a research associate for the center. Rather, it looked to provide a snapshot of the spending plan as it was presented, he said.

"The details matter tremendously," Rosenberg said. "Which tax expenditures you target, or which preferences you target makes all the difference. ... It’s hard to know (what the impacts will be) without that level of detail."

Our ruling:

Frank Guinta, who is running against Democrat Carol Shea-Porter in New Hampshire's First Congressional District, voted in favor of the House Republicans’ 2013 budget. That much is clear. But, whether the spending proposal would have increased taxes on middle class families remains in question.

The study by the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, which is chaired by a Democrat, suggests the budget plan would have increased taxes by $1,358 -- more than the $1,000 referenced in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ad. But, it assumes the budget would eliminate a host of deductions and expenditures -- assumptions that are too big a stretch for other tax analysts.

Had it passed, the House budget may have increased middle class taxes as the ad suggests. But, given the lack of specifics, there isn’t enough evidence to know for sure, as the DCCC claims to do.

We rate the claim Mostly False.

Featured Fact-check

Our Sources

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, "Regular," October 15, 2012

ABC News, "Paul Ryan Tax Plan Could Raise Middle Class Taxes, Said Panel," August 14, 2012

U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, "Winners and Losers: Understanding the Ryan Plan’s Potential Tax Implications for America’s Workers," June 20, 2012, "Baldwin says Thompson wants to give millionaires a tax cut while raising taxes on the middle class," August 27, 2012

Tax Policy Center, "House Republican Budget Plan without Unspecified Base Broadeners," April 9, 2012

Interview with Joseph Rosenberg, research associate with the Tax Policy Center, October 17, 2012

Email interview with William McBride, chief economist for the Tax Foundation, October 17, 2012

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Democrats point to votes om Ryan budget as evidence Rep. Frank Guinta wants to tax middle class

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