Key GOP moderate Susan Collins lays out tax goals

Key GOP moderate Susan Collins lays out tax goals

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCentrist efforts to convince Trump to end shutdown falter On The Money: Shutdown Day 26 | Pelosi calls on Trump to delay State of the Union | Cites 'security concerns' | DHS chief says they can handle security | Waters lays out agenda | Senate rejects effort to block Trump on Russia sanctions Senators look for possible way to end shutdown MORE (R-Maine) on Monday laid out her vision for tax reform, opposing two tax cuts for the wealthy that Republicans have long supported.

“I do not believe that the top rate should be lowered for individuals who are making more than $1 million a year,” Collins told Bloomberg News in an interview.

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One of just a handful of moderate Republicans in the Senate, the lawmaker said she has expressed her "concern" to GOP leaders about slashing the individual tax rate for top earners and repealing the estate tax, two elements of President Trump's tax reform plan. 

 

The Maine lawmaker defended the estate tax, which takes 40 percent from estates after an exemption for $5.49 million for individuals or $10.98 million for couples.

“I don’t think there’s any need to eliminate the estate tax.”

The levy, she argued, does not affect “the vast majority of family-owned businesses and farms and ranches,” while saying “certain tax cuts done right will increase economic growth.”

Collins is considered a key vote for Republicans who control a slim majority of seats in the Senate. 

The Republican senator broke with most of her colleagues in opposing the multiple ObamaCare repeal and replacement bills earlier this year.

Trump and GOP lawmakers released a framework in late September that they say will provide tax relief for the middle class and make American businesses more competitive by cutting taxes on businesses, slashing the top tax rate for the wealthy and getting rid of many itemized deductions.

While she would not say if she plans to support the tax reform bill, Collins noted that "there is far more outreach on the tax bill” than during the GOP healthCare pushes.

“I hope very much to be able to support a tax reform package," Collins said, while stressing how she wants to address the burgeoning national debt as well as avoiding blowing "a hole" in the deficit.

"It’s very difficult -- I’m not going to say I can guarantee that because I don’t know what’s going to be in it.”

Collins said the upper chamber will likely release tax reform legislation that differs from the House version.

Her remarks come before the House Ways and Means Committee is expected to release the first tax proposal on Wednesday.