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October 31, 2012

Ad watch: Anti-Bera ad uses old remarks for tax-increase claims

The National Republican Congressional Committee recently launched its latest attack ad against Ami Bera, the Democrat challenging GOP Rep. Dan Lungren in the 7th Congressional District. Here is the text of the television spot and an analysis by Torey Van Oot of The Bee Capitol Bureau.

The National Republican Congressional Committee recently launched its latest attack ad against Ami Bera, the Democrat challenging GOP Rep. Dan Lungren in the 7th Congressional District. Here is the text of the television spot and an analysis by Torey Van Oot of The Bee Capitol Bureau.

Announcer: It doesn't matter who you are, chances are, Ami Bera's got a tax for you.

Drive a car? Bera supported raising the gas tax.

Own a small business? Bera's plan could raise your taxes.

Saving money for retirement? Bera called for taxing it.

Bera even called for raising taxes on the middle class.

The average California family would pay $1,600 more.

We can't afford Ami Bera's taxes.

ANALYSIS: The ad misstates one potential impact of allowing the Bush-era tax cuts to expire and misrepresents Bera's current positions on tax issues.

The bulk of the ad is based on comments Bera made during his 2010 run against Lungren. At the time, he voiced support for letting a package of tax cuts approved during the Bush administration expire, and said increasing the gas tax to reduce consumption was "worth exploring."

He now says he wants to let the tax cuts expire only for people making $1 million or more. The middle-income families cited in the ad would not see a $1,600 increase under that approach.

The NRCC initially cited a provision contained in the tax cuts that increased the maximum contribution limits for tax-preferred retirement accounts to back its claim about the taxes and saving for retirement. But those provisions were extended permanently in 2006, so the cap would not have been lowered or changed had the tax cuts been allowed to expire.

Still, allowing the tax cuts to expire could have had an impact on retirement savings for some. Tax rates on long-term capital gains and dividends, for example, would have increased.

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