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Marco Rubio floats trial balloon on tax reform at donor meeting

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In a conservative donors preview last weekend, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio unveiled a tax reform plan he intends to introduce soon with Utah Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Lee.

The Florida senator, who has indicated he will likely run for president rather than  for re-election to the U.S. Senate, told attendees at the Club for Growth meeting his agenda: to pass an alternative to Obamacare, close the Export-Import Bank and eliminate the U.S. Department of Education.

According to POLITICO’s James Hohmann, Rubio’s suggested proposal would cut corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 25 percent, as well as eliminate both capital gains and dividend taxes. He also calls for a level playing field between C and S corporations, whereas S corporations would pay more than 25 percent in taxes.

The measure would flatten the seven existing income tax brackets to only two rates, 15 or 35 percent. Rubio estimated the plan would grow the economy 15 percent over 10 years, and wages by 13 percent.

 “In an ideal world,” Rubio told the audience, “it would be a simple one rate for everyone.”

“Hopefully we’ll move in that direction as a nation,” he added. “We think this is achievable in the short term.”

 “If I got to start our country over from scratch, I would either have a flat tax or a consumption tax,” he said.

Also attending the event were prospective presidential candidates U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. In the audience were Lee, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Arkansas U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska and Michigan U.S. Rep. Justin Amash.

Rubio’s speech lasted 26 minutes with another 18 minutes for a Q and A session, Hohmann writes.

Rubio praised Toomey – a Club member that is seeking re-election – in his running the Republican Steering Committee, a job that Lee now holds.

“Mike Lee is now the skunk at the garden party,” Rubio joked. “And he’s a pretty good skunk.”

In the questioning period, Rubio was asked, “Can we get rid of the Bushes?”

“Gov. (Jeb) Bush is a person I admire tremendously,” Rubio responded. “He’s a good friend … He’s going to be a very strong and formidable candidate.”

He added that Republicans “should be very happy” there are “six or seven very qualified people” thinking about the presidency. “The Democrats can barely pick up one.”

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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