Cantwell Fights to Permanently Cut Taxes for 98 Percent of Washingtonians

GOP filibuster blocks legislation critical to economic recovery, along with other measures crucial to Washingtonians

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a rare Saturday session, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) voted to permanently cut taxes for millions of middle class Washingtonians, keeping thousands of dollars in their pockets.  A majority of the Senate today supported two version of The Middle Class Tax Cut Act of 2010. The first would have permanently cut taxes on incomes up to $250,000 for families and $200,000 for individuals; the second version would have permanently cut taxes on income up to $1 million. The lower rates for these income levels would benefit all taxpayers, even those with income well above the limits. Both proposals got 53 votes, seven short of the 60-vote supermajority needed to end the GOP filibuster.  In Washington state, 98 percent of all taxpayers would have seen their lower tax rates extended.  The average American would get a permanent tax break of $900 under either plan. At income levels $200,000, these proposals would make permanent a tax cut of $6,700.

“Today we had the opportunity to keep thousands of dollars in the pockets of every day Washingtonians,” said Senator Cantwell. “Americans everywhere are struggling with their everyday expenses – their mortgages, their doctor bills and grocery bills.  Either of these tax cut proposals would have enabled middle class Americans to keep more of their hard-earned dollars in their pockets. And Americans at every income level would see a tax benefit over pre-2001 tax rates. I am deeply disappointed that my Republican colleagues were unwilling to put aside partisan differences to support struggling, everyday Americans.” 

The blocked legislation would extend the “Making Work Pay” tax credit, which gives every working Americans a $400 tax cut in their paycheck through 2011. It would cut taxes for families paying college tuition, state and local sales taxes, and property taxes. The bill would cut taxes for employers to spur clean energy advancements, business research and development, and investment, freeing up cash to expand and hire new workers. And the legislation would reauthorize federal unemployment insurance through 2011. This provision extends unemployment insurance benefits for the tens of thousands of Washingtonians and two million people nationwide whose benefits ended at the end of November.

In addition to permanent tax relief focused on the middle class, the two bills considered by the Senate contain several measures important to Washington state that Cantwell has continually championed. These include provisions to maintain investment in the clean energy sector, an extension of tax cuts that are helping small businesses invest and expand, and an extension of the state and local sales tax deduction, which gives tax parity to hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians.

The bill includes the following provisions Cantwell has championed for Washington state:

  • State and Local Sales Tax Deduction extension through 2011: This itemized deduction allows taxpayers in states without an income tax to deduct the sales tax they pay, assuring tax fairness for Washington and other states with income taxes. Cantwell has led the effort each year to ensure the deduction is extended.


  • Small Business Jobs Act Tax Cuts extension through 2011: The Small Business Jobs Act contains tax incentives to help small businesses create and save jobs, but many of them expire at the end of this tax season. This provision extends these important provisions through 2011 to maintain forward momentum in small business job growth.


  • 1603 Treasury Grant Program extension through 2011 and expansion to public power: Cantwell led an effort with 26 of her colleagues to extend and expand the program for 2011. The highly successful 1603 Treasury Grant Program was created as part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to promote and maintain strong growth in the renewable energy sector during tough economic times. Allowing public power providers to participate is a key victory for Washington state, where half of consumers are served by non-profit public power.


  • $2.5 billion for the 48C Advanced Energy Manufacturing Credit: Cantwell helped author the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Credit as part of ARRA to stimulate clean energy investments; however, a cap on the total funding allocation has meant that less than one-third of the acceptable applications could be funded. This provision provides an additional $2.5 billion to the highly-successful program.


  • Biodiesel Production Tax Credit extension through 2011 (and retroactively through 2010): Since it was first created in 2004, the biodiesel tax incentive has helped increase U.S. production from 25 million gallons to 690 million gallons in 2008. The credit expired at the end of 2009.


For more information about the Middle Class Tax Cut Act of 2010, visit the Senate Finance Committee website.