As early voting begins across Texas today, U.S. Senate candidates Paul Sadler and Ted Cruz are entering the home stretch of a long campaign. During their last debate Friday at KERA studios, Democrat Sadler and Republican Cruz presented sharp differences on many issues -- especially taxes.
A fundamental split: how to deal the tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush, which are set to expire at the end of the year. They’ve already been extended under President Obama, but in this election season, their future is hotly debated again. (Here's the full video of Friday night's debate:)
Many Democrats, including President Obama, want to cut projected deficits by allowing the tax cuts to expire for families earning $250,000 or more a year, while continuing tax cuts for middle- and lower-income families. But during KERA’s debate, Sadler distanced himself from the president by suggesting Congress should consider eliminating the tax cut for all wage earners, including the middle class.
"I’m not going to split wealthy and poor, I’m not going to split middle class and wealthy. We have to cut spending and balance the budget. Even if we do that we may eliminate the deficit in some period of time in the future, it’s not going to be immediate. But to pay down the national debt requires more than that. You can balance the budget by cutting spending, but you’re going to have to raise revenue sometime, and what I’ve tried to say is that when you do that, we need to have a complete approach where we’re all contributing, it is a shared responsibility, a shared sacrifice," Sadler said.
Republican opponent, Ted Cruz, on the other hand, says he would not eliminate any of the Bush tax cuts, even though doing so for the wealthiest could prevent other deep reductions in federal programs.
"I think if we raise taxes, it will kill jobs. Texans can rest assured if I am elected U.S. Senator in November, I will not support raising taxes on any Texans. There’s a sharp divide, because my opponent -- and I think this is courageous on his part -- has said every taxpayer in Texas, he will consider raising taxes." Cruz said.
He also said the country should tackle the national debt by getting the economy growing. Sadler says that won’t be enough. "You cannot grow your way out of this. No one that has understood this debt problem is saying you can simply grow the economy and get out of it."
Both Sadler and Cruz have said reducing both the national debt and federal spending are their top priorities.