GREEN VALLEY - Taxes are due on Tuesday, the same day voters will cast their ballots in the primary of the Congressional District 8 special election.
So perhaps it's fitting that the four GOP contenders were asked Thursday night in their final debate what they would do to keep taxes low while also increasing revenues and decreasing the national debt.
Here's what Republicans Martha McSally, Frank Antenori, Jesse Kelly and Dave Sitton told a packed house of about 400 people at the Madera Clubhouse in Quail Creek in a debate hosted by a trio of Republican clubs from Green Valley and Sahuarita:
Her plan would be to simplify the personal and corporate tax code, get everyone paying taxes and lower the tax rate as much as possible.
"So we have money in the pockets of individuals and in small businesses, which are the engine of growth," she said. "They will then grow the economy and create jobs with the entrepreneurial spirit and their innovation, that then, by the way, increases revenue that goes back to the government."
The complex tax code makes it nearly impossible for people and businesses to complete their taxes without professional help, said McSally, a retired Air Force colonel who was the first woman to fly in combat.
"We spend over 6.8 billion man hours on our taxes every year," McSally said. "If we turned that into jobs, it would be over 3 million jobs."
He supports the budget plan put forth by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., which establishes two tax brackets.
"That is an effort to start working toward a flat tax," Antenori said.
A flat, but broad-based tax based on a percentage of one's income is the way to get rid of loopholes that are used by lobbyists on behalf of their clients, said Antenori, a state senator and a program manager at Raytheon.
That would convert all Americans into shareholders in the country, which he said will make them less reliant on government and more productive.
"So you're not dividing the country between the producers and the moochers that suck on the taxpayers in this country for their own personal benefit and want to stay there their entire life," Antenori said. "You change the dynamic of this country: You get everyone on board in the direction this country needs to go."
Repeating what he's said many times before, he proposed a 10-percent flat tax.
"Every single American should pay the exact same tax rate," Kelly said. "If 10 percent is good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for the federal government. They can find a way to make that number work."
It won't happen overnight, he conceded, but that should be the goal, said Kelly, a project manager in a family construction company who lost to then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in 2010.
Kelly's proposal to increase revenue is to slash the corporate tax rate and invite companies from all over the world back home.
"We don't need to export businesses to China," he said. "People want to do business here because of our roads, because of our schools, because we are still the greatest country in the world."
Congress needs to reduce burdensome regulations to protect entrepreneurs and job creators who help the economy grow, he said.
"The great story of America has always been the free enterprise system," Sitton said. "For some reason, Washington has forgotten that."
The big problem right now is that the country doesn't have enough taxpayers, said Sitton, a sports broadcaster and marketing executive.
"We need to have the maximum number of Americans paying the minimal amount of taxes," Sitton said. "That will provide the productivity and the job creation we need in this country, not just for the revenue, but for the fabric of this country. We need Americans working and we need them working as soon as possible."
The winner of Tuesday's Republican primary will face Democrat Ron Barber in the June 12 special election to complete the congressional term of Giffords, who resigned in January to focus on her recovery from being shot in the head in 2011.
Nearly 45,000 people out of a pool of about 280,000 voters who are registered Republican or independent in CD8 have already turned in their early ballots for the primary.
Contact reporter Brady McCombs at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4213.