Tester and Rehberg Spar Over Taxes in Montana Debate

Tuesday, 09 Oct 2012 09:35 PM

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Sen. Jon Tester of Montana and his Republican challenger, Rep. Denny Rehberg, traded barbs over taxes, among other topics, in a debate on Monday night, the Helena Independent Record reported.

Rehberg, who’s challenging Tester for one of Montana's spots in the Senate, touted his support for a flat-rate federal income tax.

“I believe in a flat tax,” he said during the debate. “I’m fighting for a flat tax because I think ultimately that is the best way to go.”

Rehberg, the state’s lone congressman, said after the debate that a flat tax likely would include elimination of many deductions, to simplify the tax code, and might be in the range of 10 percent to 11 percent. Tester said he opposes a flat tax because it would likely increase taxes for Montanans with moderate incomes, according to the Independent.

It was the second head-to-head debate this campaign season for the candidates. Rehberg holds a slim lead in polls and Obama is almost certain to lose in the state. The Montana Senate race is one several pure toss-ups.

Rehberg throughout the night tied Tester to President Barack Obama. He raised the pending closure of a coal-fired power plant that has been blamed on environment regulations, according to the Great Falls Tribune.

“It also gave us, not so much an energy policy as an environmental policy. You don’t have to look very far down the street: a closing Corrette plant,” Rehberg said in the debate. “That’s the kind of economics we have gotten from the failed policies of President Obama — and the failed policies of Sen. Tester.”

Tester later defended himself.

“The point is, congressman, you are running against me. You aren’t running against President Obama. You could have done that, but you chose not to,” Tester said. “He can try to morph me into President Obama because that is who he wants to run against.”


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