BLUFFTON – For a moment Wednesday, Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., seemed to risk his reputation as a fiscal hawk.
At a gathering of about 20 members of the Wells County Chamber of Commerce, local attorney Keith Huffman suggested the need to find a balance of federal spending cuts and increased revenues to shrink the $16 trillion federal debt. Increasing revenues usually means raising income taxes, which most Republican lawmakers oppose.
I would be willing to do that if I knew that Washington was taking the same measures Ive had to do with my business or weve had to do with our family and trim its bureaucracy, trim its bloat, Coats responded.
Youve got to show me that Im not just feeding the beast here and creating new programs and creating higher taxes simply to feed whats happening in Washington.
I think (Americans) want to see that spending discipline in any kind of package we put together, guaranteed and enforceable he said at the Wells County Arts Commerce Visitors Centre. And by the way, in those (debt) negotiations, in spite of what you hear on television and so forth, Republicans did put forth a tax increase if it was combined with significant, enforceable spending cuts.
After the meeting, The Journal Gazette asked Coats whether he has dropped his opposition to a tax increase.
Before I make that decision, I want to see real, enforceable spending cuts, he said. I want to see comprehensive tax reform. I want to see a commitment to address the restructuring of our entitlement system of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
And then, only then, will I take up consideration of taxes, he said.
Coats said revenue increases he would favor are tax reform, broadening the tax base and growing the economy.