Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.), a centrist freshman from a swing district, said over the weekend that he thought millionaires should pay higher taxes.
"I do think there is room at the very top for marginal tax changes," he told the Utica Observer-Dispatch. "I don't think you want to hurt businesses that are making $250,000 or $500,000. Those are the real people who create the opportunity to put people to work. I think people who make $1 million a year (could pay more). … Give (a tax break) to someone who is going to spend it or give a break to someone who needs it."
Hanna's comments conflict with House GOP leaders' position opposing any and all tax increases in order to help pay down the federal deficit, one most Republicans agree with. But polls have shown it is a politically popular one, and that could help him win reelection in a congressional district that backed President Obama in 2008.
If more vulnerable Republicans adopt his views it could help create enough room for a bipartisan compromise on deficit reduction -- and a schism with their party's leaders. Obama has called for increasing tax rates on individuals earning more than $200,000 a year and families earning more than $250,000 a year.
Hanna, unlike many freshman House Republicans including those from swing districts, ran as a centrist in 2010. He is also a millionaire, so the taxes could impact him.