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Political notebook

Huntsman calls for tax code overhaul

September 1, 2011

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HUDSON, N.H. - Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman yesterday advocated a dramatic restructuring of the tax code in a way that will help businesses but could hurt those earning lower incomes by getting rid of tax breaks for mortgages or for low-income workers.

The tax code overhaul plan, modeled after Ronald Reagan’s 1986 tax reform package, would lower the corporate and individual tax rates while broadening the base of taxpayers by eliminating loopholes. Huntsman would also eliminate capital gains and dividends taxes.

“Our tax code is too complex, our rates are too high, and the tax burden is carried by too few,’’ Huntsman wrote in his plan.

The tax code overhaul was one part of Huntsman’s jobs plan, which also focused on regulatory reform, energy independence, and free trade. Huntsman, a former Utah governor and ambassador to China, announced the plan surrounded by metal presses at Gilchrist Metal Fabricating, a machining and manufacturing company, a symbolic location as Huntsman called for an increase in American manufacturing.

Huntsman predicted that the American people will “revert back to a system that believes in capitalistic traditions, the free market, innovation, and empowers entrepreneurs.’’

So far, Huntsman has remained in the low single digits in polls nationally and in New Hampshire, the first-in-the-nation primary state. The jobs plan could be Huntsman’s opportunity to increase his standing as a candidate and get his ideas out before Republican candidate Mitt Romney and President Obama, a Democrat, release their plans next week.

In addition to offering his ideas, Huntsman used the speech to criticize Obama for a lack of leadership. “The president believes that we can tax and spend and regulate our way to prosperity,’’ Huntsman said. “We cannot. We must compete our way to prosperity.’’

He continued: “As the Obama administration has dithered, other nations are making the choices necessary to compete in the 21st century.’’

Huntsman said he would repeal both Obama’s health care overhaul and the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform that Congress passed in reaction to the financial crisis.

— Shira Schoenberg

Counterterrorism veteran named FBI deputy director WASHINGTON - A 24-year FBI veteran with extensive counterterrorism experience, Sean Joyce, has been named the law enforcement agency’s deputy director.

Elevated to the No. 2 post within the FBI by Director Robert Mueller, Joyce replaces Timothy Murphy, who is retiring after 23 years with the bureau.

Since last year, Joyce has been executive assistant director of the national security branch, responsible for the FBI’s national security and intelligence operations.

He earned the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service in 2004 for work on a counterterrorism squad in Dallas. In 2008, he was named chief of the counterterrorism division’s international terrorism operations section, with responsibility for international terrorism matters within the United States.

— Associated Press

Party donations up, with Democrats holding edge WASHINGTON - The country’s two political parties saw an uptick in donations this election cycle, with Democrats enjoying a 22 percent fund-raising edge over Republicans ahead of next year’s election, new federal data show.

Democratic committees, including the party’s national, congressional, and Senate committees, raised more than $128 million during the first seven months of this year. That compares with Republicans’ $105 million in contributions as GOP leaders try to counter the cash flow supporting President Obama’s bid for a second term.

— Associated Press