TEMPORARY TAX RELIEF ACT OF 2007
Mr. KIND. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 3996, the Temporary Tax Relief Act of 2007. As a member of the Ways and Means Committee, I am proud to have helped craft this very important tax bill that will give much needed relief to millions of American taxpayers.
Unfortunately, over the last several years we have seen tax bills pushed through Congress and signed by the President under the guise of ``relief' for the middle class and the poorest in the country. I think many in this chamber have now come to recognize that many of these measures presented as tax relief for the middle class were in fact more tax breaks for the richest in society. Today we finally have before us a bill that will give real relief to millions of taxpayers, many of whom are hard-working middle-class families.
Specifically, H.R. 3996 provides for a 1-year patch for the Alternative Minimum Tax, AMT. The AMT was developed in the 1970s to ensure that America's wealthiest could not take advantage of the tax code in a way that would allow them to avoid paying taxes altogether. The AMT was not indexed for inflation, however, and without this legislation it will reach into the pocketbooks of middle-class families it was never intended to hit. In my district alone, the AMT could affect 50,000 additional western Wisconsin families this year, many of whom have no idea they face a tax increase. Without this legislation, it is estimated that the AMT will hit an additional 437,000 taxpayers in Wisconsin and 23 million nationally. It is hard for me to think of something more important than protecting 23 million Americans from a tax that was never intended for them.
Additionally, this bill extends several popular expiring tax provisions. In particular, the bill will provide property tax relief for 30 million Americans, help for more than 12 million children through an expanded child tax credit, tax relief for more than 11 million families through state and local sales tax deduction, help for more than 4.5 million families to cover the cost of education through the tuition deduction, and relief for more than 3.5 million teachers who will be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses for their classrooms.
Finally, and most importantly, this bill is fully offset and complies with pay-go rules that the Democratic majority restored at the beginning of this Congress. The tax benefits provided are fully paid for by closing loopholes and eliminating narrowly-targeted tax breaks for corporations. These changes establish fairness in the tax code and show that we can provide tax relief without sending the debt on to our children. After 6 years of fiscal recklessness--deficit-financed tax cuts for the wealthy and out-of-control government spending--this bill sets a precedent of fiscally responsible tax reform.
Again, Mr. Speaker, I am happy to support this sensible and fair tax bill before us today. Protecting millions of taxpayers from being caught by the AMT is of the utmost importance. I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 3996.