The Spectacle Blog

Romney on Loopholes

By on 8.11.11 | 3:33PM

In Iowa today, Mitt Romney made a distinction that is slightly more subtle than the statement that corporations consist of people. He explained that the term loophole has a specific meaning: 

Q: In 2004, as governor of Massachusetts, you closed corporate tax loopholes on big banks to raise revenue and balance the state budget. If you were elected president, would you do the same thing and look at the revenue side of the equation to balance the federal budget?


ROMNEY: The question is, as governor of Massachusetts I closed loopholes on big banks that were abusing our tax system and would I do the same as president. Let me tell you, let's describe what is a loophole and what's raising taxes. In my opinion, a loophole is when someone takes advantage of a tax law in a way that wasn't intended by the legislation. And we had in my state, for instance, we had a special provision for real estate enterprises that owned a lot of real estate. And it provided lower tax rates in certain circumstances and some banks had figured out that by calling themselves real estate companies, they could get a special tax break. And we said, ‘No more of that, you're not gonna game with the system.' And so if there are taxpayers who find ways to distort the tax law and take advantage of what I'll call loopholes in a way that are not intended by Congress or intended by the people, absolutely I'd close those loopholes. But there are a lot of people who use the loophole to say, ‘Let's just raise taxes on people.' And that I will not do. I will not raise taxes.

Recently President Obama and others have improperly used the word loophole to mean any tax credit, deduction, or preference. Romney's referring to something else. 

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