Chandler Votes to Extend Major Tax Relief to Millions of Americans
By Stephanie Pepper
WASHINGTON (November 9, 2007) - Today, Congressman Ben Chandler joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass H.R. 3996, the Temporary Tax Relief Act of 2007, a bill which provides tax relief to 90 million taxpayers and their families.
This legislation prevents 23 million middle-class families from paying higher taxes this April by fixing the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), a tax that was originally created by Congress in 1969 to prevent very wealthy individuals from using loopholes to avoid owing income taxes. Because the tax was not indexed for inflation, it has steadily extended its reach to millions of Americans. Though many taxpayers are unaware, these 23 million households (including 49,793 in the Sixth District of Kentucky) will face an average tax increase of $6,782 if Congress does not act.
"I was proud to vote for this measure that will ensure Central Kentucky families are not saddled with unfair tax increases," said Congressman Chandler. "At a time when gas prices, college tuition and health care costs are increasing at alarming rates, this is the least we can do to help ease the financial burden placed on working families."
In addition to fixing the AMT, this legislation also includes numerous extensions of popular credits and deductions including:
* The expansion of the child tax credit, benefiting the families of 12.5 million children nationwide, including nearly 120,000 Kentucky children
* An extension of the deduction (up to $4,000) for qualified education expenses, which will help those who are struggling to pay for higher education
* An extension of the $250 tax credit for teachers who incur out-of-pocket costs on classroom expenses
* An extension of the research and development tax credit for businesses, supported by hundreds of companies nationwide, including Lexmark International
* An extension of the mortgage insurance deduction
In addition to expanding current tax credits and deductions that are set to expire, this bill provides new tax incentives including:
* A standard property tax deduction for homeowners who do not itemize ($350 for those filing singly and $700 for those filing jointly), benefiting 30 million homeowners nationwide
* A tax exclusion for up to $2 million in mortgage debt which has been discharged through foreclosure
To pay for the bulk of the costs of these critical tax cuts for middle and low-income Americans, the bill will shut down loopholes by treating private equity and hedge fund managers' "carried interest" earnings as regular income. Additionally, the bill will prevent corporate CEOs from escaping income taxes using offshore tax havens.
"These are fiscally responsible tax cuts that do not pass on any more expenses to future generations," said Chandler. "Instead of continuing to borrow money from foreign countries, it is time we take responsibility for our actions. It is simply wrong to make our children and grandchildren pay our bills."