Republican Congressional leaders plan Thursday to convert a suburban Washington lumberyard into the staging area to unveil their agenda for the November elections and push to extend all of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.
Analysts say Tart Lumber in Sterling, Va., will be to the 2010 GOP what the steps of the Capitol were to the party in 1994 when it unveiled the "Contract With America" that helped Republicans take control of Congress. News operations such as Politico.com say details of the plan--including its name--are closely guarded. Today's Washington Post, quoting unnamed sources, reported the document will have about 20 agenda items and will focus on jobs, spending, health care, national security, and reforming Congress.
Tart appears to have been chosen in large part because its president, Craig Fritsche, has emerged as a much-quoted small-business everyman who has spoken out in favor of extending the tax cuts to all income levels. President Barack Obama and Democratic Congressional leaders favor letting the tax cuts expire in January for Americans earning more than $250,000 per year.
Fritsche first gained attention through his participation in a Capitol Hill news conference at which he spoke as a member of the National Federation of Independent Business. (Story) That led in turn to stories on the tax issue in which he was quoted by groups as diverse as Fox News and National Public Radio (NPR).
Those stories focused on tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 are to expire in January unless Congress renews them. According to an AP summary, if the cuts expire, the bottom rate for income taxes would rise to 15% from the current 10% while the top rate would climb to 39.6% from 35%. In addition, the tax rate on capital gains would return to 20% from its current 15% rate, taxes on dividends would rise to 39.6% from 15%, the federal estate tax would return.
In the NPR story, Fritsche said he hasn't made enough money in the past couple of years to be taxed at the top rate. But he said Democrats are wrong to let tax cuts expire for any small business that would make that much money.
"They don't realize we're not out buying boats," he said in the interview regarding the Democrats. "We're not out buying second homes. We're plowing that money back into the business and creating jobs."