Fox & Friends falsely claimed that congressional Democrats are proposing to raise taxes "only in Republican red states." In fact, the year-old proposal discussed on Fox & Friends would lower taxes on areas with a high cost of living, regardless of how they vote, and would include areas represented by Republicans.
Fox News repeatedly claims Dems want to raise taxes "only in Republican red states"
WSJ: "If you live in a state that voted for Barack Obama, you get a tax cut." On August 4, a Wall Street Journal editorial falsely claimed that Rep. Jerrold Nadler's (D-NY) proposed Tax Equity Act would mean "If you live in a state that voted for Barack Obama, you get a tax cut." The editorial also stated: "In other words, the various tax brackets would apply to residents in certain regions at higher income levels versus other parts of the country. A family with an income of $50,000 or even $1 million in Manhattan would pay less federal income tax than a family with the same earnings in Omaha. The bill is called the Tax Equity Act, but a more accurate title would be the Blue State Tax Preference Act."
Camerota: "Would you believe there's a proposal on the table to hike taxes, but only in Republican red states?" On the August 6 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, guest host Alisyn Camerota teased a segment on the WSJ editorial, asking, "Would you believe there's a proposal on the table to hike taxes, but only in Republican red states?"
Doocy: "New York's Democrat Congressman Jerry Nadler is proposing that we raise taxes only in Republican red states." Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy also falsely characterized the proposal as "raising taxes only in Republican red states," despite noting that the adjustments would be based on the cost of living and later acknowledging that "it wouldn't be a higher tax on Democrats or Republicans":
DOOCY: A series of tax cuts are set to expire at the end of the year. A recent Rasmussen poll shows a majority of Republicans and independents want them extended but Democrats do not unless, of course, it doesn't bode well for them at the polls. So New York's Democrat [sic] Congressman Jerry Nadler is proposing that we raise taxes only in Republican red states. Come on, is that constitutional?
ANDREW NAPOLITANO (Fox News legal analyst): It is absolutely not constitutional and on that basis, the judges would stop it. Here's why it's not constitutional. Because the Constitution, the law of the land to which Mr. Nadler and everyone in the government has taken an oath to uphold, requires equal protection. Equal treatment. Similarly situated people being treated in a similar manner. So you can't have a different tax rate for Republicans and a different tax rate for Democrats. If you do, then you are violating the Constitution, and it is the duty of judges to stop the majority from doing that.
DOOCY: Well, it wouldn't be a higher tax on Democrats and -- you know -- or Republicans. But it would be on states that have historically gone toward Democrats in the past.
In fact, the proposal would lower taxes on those living in high-cost areas, regardless of how they vote
The Tax Equity Act would provide "regional cost-of-living adjustments in individual income tax rates." According to the Congressional Research Service summary, the Tax Equity Act "[a]mends the Internal Revenue Code to provide regional cost-of-living adjustments in individual income tax rates. Directs the Secretary of Labor to produce a regional cost-of-living index." Contrary to Fox News' claim, this would be applied to statistical areas, not states. The bill says that "the minimum and maximum dollar amounts otherwise in effect for each rate bracket shall be multiplied by the applicable multiplier," which is based on how the cost of living in each statistical area compares to the national average.
Republican districts are among the high-cost-of-living areas. Kiplinger.com ranks metropolitan areas based on a cost of living index with "100 being the national average." Several of the metro areas that have a cost of living score of 125 or higher include districts that are represented by Republicans and that would likely benefit from Nadler's proposal. For instance:
- New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA: includes areas represented by Republican Reps. Scott Garrett and Rodney P. Frelinghuysen: New Jersey's 5th and 11th district.
- Honolulu, HI: represented by Republican Rep. Charles Djou: Hawaii's 1st District.
- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA: includes areas represented by Republican Reps. David Dreier, Ed Royce, Gary Miller, Ken Calvert, Dana Rohrabacher, and John Campbell: California's 26th, 40th, 42nd, 44th, 46th, and 48th district, respectively.
- Fairbanks, AK: represented by Republican Rep. Don Young: Alaska's At-large District.
- San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA: includes areas represented by Republican Reps. Darrell Issa, Brian Bilbray, and Duncan D. Hunter: California's 49th, 50th, and 52nd districts, respectively.
- Anchorage, AK: represented by Young: Alaska's At-large District.
Nadler: This bill "has nothing to do with" the Bush tax cuts expiring. On the August 5 edition of Fox Business' The Willis Report, host Gerri Wilis asked Nadler whether the bill "look[s] like you're trying to dial back the impact of these Bush tax cuts for people in your own district because you represent New York?" Nadler replied that "this bill was introduced 6 years before the Bush tax cuts. ... I introduce it in every Congress. ...[It] has nothing to do with Bush tax cuts." Nadler introduced the bill in April 2009, over a year ago. It has yet to move through a committee. And Nadler has introduced the Tax Equity Act as far back as 2003.
Kevin Zieber is an intern at Media Matters for America.