Issue Position: Taxes
I believe that the voters of Georgia elected me to help bring much-needed tax relief to their families and their businesses.
Tax Credits for Homebuyers
On April 10, 2008, by a vote of 84 to 12, the Senate passed legislation that included one of my own proposals designed to stimulate our declining housing market. My proposal provides a direct tax credit for the purchase of a single-family home in the amount of $7,000 over two years for purchases made within one year of the legislation's enactment. Eligible properties include two categories of single family homes where a foreclosure filing has occurred pursuant to the laws of the state in which the residence is located:
* Homes that were occupied as a principal residence by the mortgagor for at least one year prior to foreclosure being filed (i.e., no investment properties).
* New construction properties that have never been occupied where permitting and construction began on or before September 1, 2007. (These also must be foreclosed or pending foreclosure.)
Our country and our economy face a serious challenge in the next 12 months. The number of unsold new homes and foreclosed resale homes will reach unprecedented numbers. Lenders will be forced to liquidate their real estate holdings, which will result in lower home values and less equity for homeowners. I am very pleased with this legislation. It targets the purchase of the very homes causing the economy its biggest problems. A $7,000 tax credit will inspire buyers to get back into the market to absorb this standing inventory of homes that are foreclosed or pending foreclosure.
Making President Bush's Tax Cuts Permanent
In 2001, Congress passed President Bush's tax relief package, the largest in a generation. This plan has reduced taxes for everyone who pays income taxes, eliminated the death tax and marriage penalty tax, and increased the child tax credit.
I worked for passage of the President's tax relief package and one of my top priorities in the Senate is to make these tax cuts permanent. Currently, this tax relief is set to expire in 2011, meaning that taxes will increase for American families and businesses unless we act to make the tax cuts permanent. I will do everything I can to see that we take action.
President's Jobs and Growth Package
I also supported the President's Jobs and Growth Package to speed up the 2001 tax cuts, decrease the double taxation of dividends and capital, and increase small business expensing for new investment. I have always believed that taxpayers' money is best left in the hands of the people who earned it. This package immediately sent tax money back to an estimated 2.4 million Georgians and 614,000 Georgia businesses of all sizes.
Capital Gains Taxes
I believe one of the major barriers to economic growth is the enormous amount of capital held hostage by capital gains taxes. Many Americans have mature stock, bond or real estate investments that they would be eager to sell and reinvest. This reinvestment would stimulate the economy, improve the stock market and create jobs. But instead, billions of dollars that could be available for investment sit idle because of capital gains taxes. I will look for ways to remedy this.
Alternative Minimum Tax
I believe the alternative minimum tax (AMT) is an overly burdensome tax that is hitting more and more middle income families every year. The AMT was originally enacted to ensure that all taxpayers, especially high-income taxpayers, paid at least a minimum amount of federal taxes. However, the AMT is not indexed for inflation, and this factor combined with the recent reductions in the regular income tax has greatly expanded the potential impact of the AMT. Temporary provisions intended to mitigate the effects of the AMT expired at the end of 2006. If Congress does not act, the number of taxpayers subject to the AMT will increase to 23 million in 2007. I will work with my colleagues in Congress and the Bush Administration to alleviate this tax burden.
The Tax Code Termination Act
The tax code is a source of anxiety and frustration for many Americans, and I believe that the time has come to pursue fundamental changes to our tax system. It is my opinion that the only way for all types of reform to receive a fair hearing is to lay all options on the table. Therefore, I have introduced legislation that terminates the current tax code and forces Congress to come up with a simpler, fairer tax code.
My legislation would repeal the U.S. tax code and create a commission charged with reporting to Congress plausible reform options. The Tax Code Termination Act (S.747) would create a commission that would analyze reform options and report its findings to Congress. The commission would review the current tax code with respect to its impact on the economy, families and the workforce, its compliance costs to taxpayers, small business and corporations, and the Internal Revenue Service's ability to administer the current code.
The commission would also consider whether the income tax should be replaced with a flat tax or a national sales tax, and would determine if tax systems imposed in other countries could provide more efficient and fair methods of taxation here in the United States. The commission would identify the transition costs associated with any change to the present federal tax code. The commission would also be required to report on the potential impact of such recommendations on the U.S. economy and on the government's ability to collect revenue. Additionally, the potential impact of these recommendations must be presented and reviewed from both static and dynamic scoring models.
The bill would terminate the current tax code on December 31, 2010. History has taught us that if we don't impose a deadline and terminate the tax code by a date certain, overhauling our inefficient system is nearly impossible.
Just as I did in the 109 th Congress, I am again a cosponsor of S.1025, the Fair Tax Act of 2007, which would repeal the tax code and establish a national sales tax. I am also a co-sponsor of S.1040, the Tax Simplification Act of 2007, which would repeal the tax code and replace it with a flat tax. Our current tax code is overly complex and must be simplified. Congress owes all of us a simpler fairer method of taxation.