• WisPolitics


Thursday, March 25, 2010

 7:39 AM 

Wall, Westlake vow to continue Senate runs with or without Thompson

Republicans Dave Westlake and Terrence Wall Wednesday said they have no plans to drop out of the U.S. Senate race if potential GOP rival Tommy Thompson gets in.

Wall and Westlake, appearing before the Milwaukee Press Club, differed a bit on their take on Thompson with Westlake more critical of the former guv. They also expressed different approaches to the federal tax structure.

Other than that, the two expressed nearly identical views on issues as they seek to unseat Dem U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold. Each blasted the new federal health care bill as an unwanted form of government control; oppose government spending and bailouts; would lower taxes and government regulations as a way to encourage jobs; and are courting the "tea party" vote.

Westlake expressed some concerns over Thompson's stances on issues like transportation and the health care bill.

"He was a popular and successful governor, but he was not afraid to spend money," Westlake said.

Wall said he has been in regular contact with Thompson, who "has been very generous with his time." Asked whether he would seek an endorsement from Thompson if the former guv decides not to run, Wall replied, "I think that's something that's between the governor and I."

Wall said he is plans to spend a couple of million dollars on the primary and has budgeted $7.5 million to $10 million for the campaign overall, some of it out of his own pocket.

Westlake said he plans to soon roll out a plan to eliminate the federal income tax in favor of a consumption tax, while Wall said he favors a flat tax.

Westlake said that taxing people based on how much they consume would be more fair than on how much they earn. Eliminating income tax would free up a lot of money for people to spend and would generate plenty of taxes to pay for schools and other services, he said.

Wall said said he favors a flat tax rate. The Democrats, he said, have provided various tax incentives for individual industries, whereas he seeks lower taxes overall and a less strict regulatory environment that would enable businesses to take chances on expanding and hiring. Wall defended accusations that he has taken advantage of such incentives to avoid paying some taxes.

"I've paid all the taxes I owe; I've been exonerated," Wall said. "I've paid $16 million in various types of taxes over the past three years. I've paid more taxes than a lot of people."

- By Kay Nolan
For WisPolitics.com


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