There is no doubt that the federal tax code is oppressively complex, containing thousands of pages of statutes, regulations, and rulings. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimates that Americans spend 6.6 billion hours per year filling out tax forms. Americans spend nearly 20 cents in compliance costs for every dollar collected by the tax system. At the same time that our system is becoming riddled with loopholes and inconsistent approaches to tax credits, fewer Americans are actually paying federal income taxes. In 2010, almost fifty percent of Americans paid no federal income taxes, leaving half of taxpayers to shoulder an ever-growing tax burden. Since assuming office, I have already co-sponsored several pieces of legislation aimed at decreasing taxes on job creators such as:
Permanently Ending the Death Tax: The death tax is one of the biggest problems facing farmers and small business owners in America today. I have co-sponsored legislation that would repeal the death tax. I do not believe hard-working Americans should be forced to sell the family farm or estate when they inherit it to pay the death tax. The federal government should not be allowed to collect up to half the value of an estate after a family has already had to pay taxes on the farm or business throughout the years. I will continue to advocate for the repeal of this onerous tax.
Reducing Corporate Taxes: I have co-sponsored the Rising Tides Act, which would lower the maximum income tax rate for corporations from 35% to 23%. Individuals and small businesses are not the only entities facing an uncertain and burdensome economic climate. The U.S. corporate tax rate weighs heavily on our economy because the U.S. corporate tax rate ranks second among other developed nations in the global Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The U.S. corporate tax rate equals 35% at the federal level--ten percentage points higher than the average of all industrialized countries in the OECD. A high corporate tax rate drives business investment overseas and discourages the expansion of foreign industries in our own country. The longer we maintain one of the highest corporate rates in the world, the longer we delay our economic recovery.
Eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax: I am a co-sponsor of legislation that would repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) on individuals. The AMT was created in 1969 to target wealthy individuals who were using loopholes to avoid paying any taxes. Instead of addressing the actual problem associated with the tax code, Congress created a parallel tax structure. Unlike other exemptions in the tax code, the AMT is not adjusted for inflation. Past Congresses have "patched" the AMT preventing an unintended tax increase that would otherwise fall on millions of Americans. I believe we need a long-term solution to this troubling tax system.
Working Towards a Simpler System: In light of this challenging tax climate, I am committed to studying innovative proposals to overhaul the federal tax code. Proposals that broaden the tax base, simplify the tax code, and change the current marginal rates reflect the priorities of many Fourth District Constituents. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's Road to Prosperity budget proposal made some of these exact proposals and I was proud to vote for this plan.
More taxes are not what our country needs. The federal government's debt did not come about because taxes are too low, but because spending is too high. Comprehensive tax reform that simplifies our tax code and combats tax fraud remains one of my top priorities. Historically, the federal government has made shortsighted and irresponsible decisions when managing our hard-earned tax dollars. I believe control over your money should remain in your hands--where your priorities and values can govern your personal spending. Getting the government out of our personal decision making is central to getting our economy moving again.