BOSTON (AP) - Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Gabriel Gomez criticized Tuesday what he said is his opponent Edward Markey's penchant for pushing for higher taxes, rather than spending cuts, during his long stint in Congress.
Gomez pointed to Markey's support for an increase in the federal gas tax in 1993 and Markey's opposition to a 2004 bill that would have doubled the federal child tax credit to $1,000.
Gomez said Markey, a Democrat who has served in the U.S. House for more than three decades, is taking a top-down approach instead of growing the economy "from the bottom up."
Markey's campaign countered that he's supported trillions in tax cuts.
At a campaign stop in Boston's Mattapan neighborhood, Gomez said he would not take a no-new-taxes pledge but did call for comprehensive tax reform, including closing corporate and personal tax loopholes while also lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to under 30 percent.
"What's best for America is to reduce taxes and the way we're going to do that is through comprehensive tax reform," Gomez said. "You've got to address the spending side. You've got to address the revenue side as well."
Gomez also said more has to be done to persuade corporations like Apple Inc. to bring more of their cash back into the United States so it can be taxed, including lowering the corporate tax rate.
Apple paid $6 billion in taxes last year, but a Senate subcommittee estimated the company avoided at least $3.5 billion in U.S. federal taxes in 2011 and $9 billion in 2012.
"Apple wants to bring its money back," Gomez said. "But ... if you're Apple, why would you pay another 35 percent tax on bringing that cash back?
Markey spokesman Andrew Zucker said Markey has voted for more than a trillion dollars in tax cuts for small businesses, working families and the middle class and also fought to close corporate tax loopholes and end unnecessary deductions.
Zucker also knocked Gomez for subtracting more than $280,000 from his own taxable income in exchange for giving up the right to change the facade of his Cohasset home, which local bylaws prevented anyway.
"Ed Markey will fight for real tax fairness, unlike Gabriel Gomez, who opposes asking the wealthy to pay their fair share," Zucker said.
Markey also released a new television ad zeroing in on the tax issue.
In the 30-second spot, a narrator says Markey is for closing tax loopholes and passing the so-called Buffett rule, which would require those earning $1 million a year or more to pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes.
The ad also says Gomez thinks the rich already pay enough and "refuses to ask millionaires like himself to pay their fair share."
Also Tuesday, Markey received President Barack Obama's endorsement. In a statement, Obama called Markey "a passionate and effective champion for middle class and working families."
Obama said Markey has a strong record of helping businesses create jobs and his work on fuel economy standards will save money for American consumers and reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil. Obama said he also supports Markey's efforts to reduce gun violence.
Markey has also formed a new joint fundraising committee with the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee, Federal Election Commission records showed
Markey had earlier created a separate joint fundraising committee with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Gomez formed his own joint fundraising committee to help him narrow a fundraising gap with Markey. The panel was created May 7 with the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
The June 25 election will fill the seat left vacant after John Kerry resigned to become secretary of state.