AP, ABC's Tapper reported on Giuliani's tax cut plans, but not how he would pay for them

››› ››› KATHLEEN HENEHAN

Reporting on Rudy Giuliani's tax cut proposals, the Associated Press and ABC News' Jake Tapper gave no indication that they asked Giuliani or that Giuliani had spoken about how he would make up for the decrease in revenue that would result from enacting his proposals.

In recent articles about Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani's pledge to make President Bush's tax cuts permanent and enact other tax cuts, neither the Associated Press nor ABC News senior national correspondent Jake Tapper gave any indication that they asked Giuliani or that Giuliani had spoken about how he would make up for the decrease in revenue that would result from enacting his tax cuts. The AP reported that Giuliani favors "greater freedom over spending and a smaller government," while Tapper quoted him as saying, "I will cut taxes and reform the tax code." By contrast, when reporting on Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards' criticism of Giuliani, the AP article quoted Edwards specifically stating that he would pay for his proposals to provide "universal health care" and "tax relief to middle-class families" by "eliminat[ing] the tax cuts for the richest Americans."

President Bush signed the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 after it passed the Republican-controlled Congress. The tax cuts are set to expire in 2010 absent congressional action; any action to extend them would require finding money to pay for the extension or allowing the deficit to grow as the latest White House and congressional budget projections reflect. A February 7, 2006, Washington Post article about Bush's five-year budget projections reported that "[i]n 2011, the last year of the White House's projection, the deficit would again begin to rise, to $205 billion, reflecting, in part, the cost of extending Bush's tax cuts beyond their 2010 expiration date." On May 17, the Post reported that in making their recent budget proposal -- which passed the Senate and House the same day -- congressional Democrats "assume some of Bush's signature tax cuts would expire on schedule in 2010, prompting Republicans to accuse them of plotting one of the biggest tax increases in history."

The August 26 AP article by Philip Elliott, which appeared in that day's edition of The Washington Post, reported:

A Democratic president would raise taxes and ravage the economy, Republican candidate Rudolph W. Giuliani said Saturday, while he would lower taxes, make permanent President Bush's tax cuts and eliminate inheritance taxes.

[...]

Tax cuts have been a cornerstone issue of Giuliani's campaign, along with greater freedom over spending and a smaller government.

"New York City's taxes were way too high," Giuliani said. "We were taxing people out of the city. We were making the choice for them."

He said people would face $3 trillion in tax increases over the next decade unless Bush's tax cuts are made permanent. Giuliani also advocated a permanent child tax credit and lower marginal tax rates. He favors linking the alternative minimum tax to the rate of inflation.

On August 25, Tapper reported in an article for ABCNews.com: "The former mayor, who leads his GOP rivals in national polls, said he would make President Bush's tax cuts permanent, would make the child tax credit permanent, link the alternative minimum tax to inflation, and push to repeal the estate tax -- or, as Giuliani put it, 'give the death tax the death penalty.' "

But neither article gave any indication that Giuliani had spoken about or that the reporters had asked how Giuliani would pay for making the Bush tax cuts permanent or enacting the additional tax cuts. By contrast, when reporting on Edwards' criticism of Giuliani, the AP article quoted Edwards explaining how he would pay for his plan to provide universal health care and tax cuts for the middle class:

"If Mayor Giuliani wins the Republican nomination and I'm on the stage with him in 2008 as the Democratic nominee for president, it'll be a very stark contrast between the two of us," said former North Carolina senator John Edwards (D). "Here is a man who wants to have more Bush tax cuts for the richest people in America, and here on the Democratic side is someone who wants to eliminate the tax cuts for the richest Americans to pay for universal health care and actually give tax relief to middle-class families. America is going to have a very clear choice in this election."

Media Matters for America previously noted that a July 24 AP article by James Prichard reported that Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (AZ) "originally opposed Bush's tax cuts, but he advocates extending them now because he says repealing them would amount to a tax increase" and advocated "repealing the alternative minimum tax." But, like Tapper and Elliott, Pritchard gave no indication that he had asked McCain, or that McCain had spoken, about how he proposed to make up for the decrease in revenue. Additionally, Media Matters documented that when The New York Times reported on Giuliani's health care reform proposal on August 1 reporter Marc Santora gave no indication that he asked Giuliani the cost of his plan or otherwise tried to determine it. However, when Edwards and Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (IL) unveiled their respective health care proposals, the Times noted that the campaigns provided cost estimates, and it reported those estimates.

Posted In
Economy, Taxes
Network/Outlet
ABC, Associated Press
Stories/Interests
Rudy Giuliani, 2008 Elections
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