Politifact Virginia: Is too much being spent on tax breaks?

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It's that time of year when we tally up our receipts and file our tax forms with the hope of collecting as many tax breaks as possible.

The practice is time-honored American tradition. But with the country's debt exploding, is it time to re-visit the practice?

Listen to what Virginia Senator Mark Warner had to say:

"I don't think that most Americans realize that we actually spend more on tax expenditures, or tax breaks, than we collect in personal income taxes each year. So that has to be on the table, also."

Imagine that -- no more tax breaks. Or at least a lot less in tax breaks.

Is Warner right? Does the federal government spend more on tax breaks than they take in with personal income tax?

According to the reporters at Politifact Virginia -- Senator Warner's statement is "True."

The math is pretty simple.  According to the office of Management and Budget, over the past two fiscal years, the feds took  in $1.85 trillion in income taxes.

They paid out $1.98 trillion in tax breaks.

According Warren Fiske at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Warner's claim is on the mark. And the breaks come from some pretty popular parts of the tax law.

"People don't pay taxes on the insurance plans that their employer provides for them. There is a mortgage interest deduction. There is deductions for pension contributions, and they all add up," he said.

And you can see all the information behind this week's Politifact Virginia report on their web site, www.politifactvirginia.com.  And you can see all our past reports on the political blog, www.decisionvirginia.com.

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