Gov. Chris Sununu may be the star of NH-01 Republican candidate Matt Mower’s new TV ad, but it’s the attack on Rep. Chris Pappas’ record on taxes that getting all the attention.
In the new ad, Sununu says, “No income tax. Being smart about spending. That’s the New Hampshire way, and it’s why we lead the region. Matt Mowers knows it, and that’s why I’m voting for him.”
Mowers follows up with a direct attack on the incumbent Democrat: “Congressman Pappas supports higher taxes, even a new income tax. I say we cut taxes for working families. It’s time Washington learned a thing or two from New Hampshire.”
The Pappas campaign denied the accusations. “Chris Pappas has never voted for, and does not support, an income tax,” Pappas spox Lucas Meyer told WMUR. “In fact, he’s the only candidate in this race who has voted to cut taxes and is leading the effort in Congress right now to prevent Granite Staters from paying an income tax.”
Team Mowers responded by pointing to the Social Security 2100 Act, co-sponsored by Pappas, which is designed to increase Social Security benefits and stabilize the system by, among other things, raising payroll taxes. According to an analysis by the Heritage Foundation, “The Social Security 2100 Act would raise payroll taxes for all workers. An average worker with an annual salary of $50,000 would pay an extra $1,200 per year.”
In his defense, the Pappas campaign notes the congressman cast votes to repeal parts of Obamacare, such as the health insurance tax, the medical device tax, and the ‘Cadillac’ tax. These certainly were tax cuts, but they came at the expense of the Affordable Care Act and, legal scholars say, have contributed to undermining the law’s standing in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
The Mowers campaign also notes that Pappas expressed his support for a New Hampshire income or sales tax in 2002, and he said in a 2005 opinion column for a local paper that Granite Staters “have been brainwashed to think that an income or sales tax (or even gambling) would take away some of the freedom we enjoy.”
But all these are small potatoes. While Pappas may have never voted to create an income tax, he hasn’t been shy about supporting massive tax hikes.
During his 2018 campaign for Congress, Pappas repeatedly called for the repeal of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. “We should also reverse the damaging Republican tax plan that gave big corporations and the very wealthy a tax cut on the backs of working people,” Pappas said.
These so-called “Trump tax cuts” lowered taxes for most Americans, according to the New York Times. The liberal Tax Policy Center reports, “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) reduced statutory tax rates at almost all levels of taxable income.”
And the Heritage Foundation found the tax cut Pappas wants to repeal saved a typical New Hampshire family more than $1,300 in 2018 alone. Overall, the TCJA cut income taxes by more than $1 trillion, which means reversing it would be a $1 trillion tax hike.
Pappas has been very aggressive in the fight against Massachusetts’ taxing New Hampshire workers on wages earned out of state, participating in a Tax Foundation forum on the issue Wednesday. He’s also proposed legislation to prevent the practice in the future.
But it’s undeniable that Pappas supports higher income taxes, a view he shares with his party’s presidential nominee, Joe Biden, who has promised to repeal the TCJA if he becomes president. His running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, made the same promise during her failed POTUS bid.
The Pappas campaign declined to respond to requests for comment.