I understand my constituents' concerns regarding America's tax system. I believe that the current income tax system is unfair, costly, and filled with special interest exemptions not available to average Americans. Countless hours are spent filing just a basic 1040 form. I do believe there should be a simplification in the filing process. Americans spend countless hours perusing through legal jargon and indecipherable rules only to be bombarded with paperwork that seems unending. The complexity of the tax code also causes disparities between tax filers. For example, two Americans that earn similar incomes can pay wildly varying taxes depending on thousands of tax situations. I believe our tax system needs reform, but coming to a consensus on how to approach such a massive undertaking will take time and compromise. However I am strongly in support of eliminating the marriage penalty and repealing the death tax as soon as possible.
Recently, with my support the House of Representatives passed an Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) relief bill (H.R. 3996) which would provide for $50 billion in tax relief to some 23 million families. The 13th Congressional District alone had some 2, 237 AMT returns filed in 2005 and projected returns for 2007 were at 23,725, a difference of 21,488 (equal to a 961% increase). This bill would not further burden the American economy but instead, strengthen it. The AMT was put in place to ensure that the wealthiest families did not escape paying their taxes altogether. It has grown to be such a problem that it now threatens teachers and firefighters. The bottom line is I will continue to look into ways to simplify our tax code and help Americans keep more of their hard earned money.
Budget Deficit and Economy
Additionally, I worry about our national debt which now stands at over $9 trillion and the fact that each and every American holds over $30,000 share. Our country can no longer afford to continue to take on additional debt. That is why H.R. 3996 is so vital as it will only help grow our economy without increasing the debt. We are paying for this bill in a fiscally responsible way by curbing the ability of hedge fund managers to defer their offshore compensation and by delaying the effective date of new interest expense allocation rules for multinational firms.
I am also hopeful the economic stimulus package recently signed into law will prove to be fruitful for our economy. This plan includes tax rebate checks for workers who earned at least $3,000 in qualifying income during FY07. Those who paid little or no income tax would still qualify for checks of $300 for individuals or $600 for couples filing joint tax returns. Qualifying income includes wages, Social Security benefits and payments to disable Vets or their survivors. For more information on the economic stimulus program, please feel free to contact my office.
In conclusion, I believe as Members of Congress, no matter what side of the aisle we are on, we must protect our constituents and ensure fairness in the tax system. We must also ensure middle-class citizens are not left paying more than the wealthiest of Americans. I would further support reform measures taken to make our tax code simpler and fairer, so that all Americans pay their share. However, changing our tax code, which consists of a complex maze of intricate rules and regulations, will take time and compromise. Please be assured, I will continue to work toward this end and please do not hesitate to get in touch with my office with any further concerns in the near future.