Announcement By the Acting Chairman

Date: April 6, 2006
Location: Washington, DC

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE ACTING CHAIRMAN -- (House of Representatives - April 06, 2006)


Mr. BURGESS. Mr. Chairman, thank you for allowing me to be part of this historic debate.

I want to thank you, Mr. Nussle, and commend you for including the ``sense of Congress'' in the bill that revenues collected through closing the ``tax gap'' should be applied to the deficit and for debt reduction.

The tax gap is the difference between the total amount of Federal taxes owed versus the total amount of Federal taxes actually collected. The tax gap is caused by unlawful tax evasion when individuals and businesses fail to report income or fail to file a tax return or report information which is false.

In 1988, the IRS estimated that this figure was $105 billion. A recent estimate puts the gross tax gap at approximately $300 billion. The budget before us today assumes a fiscal year 2007 deficit of $348 billion. Mr. Chairman, the answer to balancing our budget is eliminating this tax gap and not increasing the taxes on hardworking Americans.

Does the Federal Government spend too much? In many ways we do. Do we always get value for our dollar? Sadly, no, we don't always.

But again, I thank Chairman Nussle for putting together a budget that holds the line on discretionary spending growth. But instead of increasing taxes on hardworking Americans or adding new taxes to hardworking Americans, we should concentrate on collecting taxes already owed under the current tax system.

Mr. Chairman, one final note. The mere tripling of the tax gap between 1988 and today shows that the Tax Code has become much too complex and susceptible to tax evasion. This shows a need for simplifying the Tax Code and for fundamental tax reforms.