MIDDLE-CLASS ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX RELIEF ACT OF 2004 -- (House of Representatives - May 05, 2004)
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Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Speaker, I came to Washington to work on several issues, one of which is the sales tax deduction. Tennesseans know my record on tax fairness. I have been working with the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Brady) to put that sales tax deduction issue on the map. I am glad to see that we have got some folks on the other side of the aisle that are coming in here and ready to help us with this debate. Like my mom always said, better late than never.
Unfortunately, true to form, their proposal, the Democrat proposal is a classic political bait and switch. They are talking about supporting a sales tax deduction while they are hiding the fact that their motion to recommit contains a tax increase. Tennesseans are not going to buy that kind of gimmickry. Whenever you make that kind of bargain, the end result is always higher taxes.
Today we are talking about the AMT, the alternative minimum tax. One of my Democrat colleagues said he never hears from constituents about the AMT, that they do not know what it is. He might be right. There are millions of middle-income taxpayers that do not know what is coming, that 11 million of them will be hit with an average tax increase of $1,520. So let us come back in a year and tell these people they do not know what the AMT is. They are going to know. They will know that they have been walloped with a $1,500 tax hike if we do not take action right now. They will be angry because people opposed the Republican plan that is supported today.
My friends across the aisle claim that their motion to recommit addresses the tax hike. Where were they when President Clinton raised taxes and failed to adjust the AMT for inflation? They had their chance to act then, and they failed. People back home need to ask themselves who do they trust on the tax policy; who has been consistently on the side of the taxpayer. It is an easy call. Democrats only talk about tax relief in election years. Republicans talk about tax relief every year.
Mr. ENGLISH. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from New Hampshire (Mr. Bradley).
Mr. BRADLEY of New Hampshire. Mr. Speaker, I would like to salute the leadership of the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. English) on this issue.
Mr. Speaker, what we face with the alternative minimum tax is a sleeping giant, a sleeping giant that is starting to wake up and gobble the hard-earned funds of millions of American taxpayers. Today it is 3 million taxpayers; but tomorrow if we do not pass this legislation, it will be 11 million taxpayers. And if we do not have the time necessary to have a longer-term solution for the alternative minimum tax, by the end of the decade it will be 30 million taxpayers, one in three Americans, will fall victim to this tax that was originally designed to catch about 150 very wealthy Americans that did not pay their fair share of taxes.
What we have today, though, with the alternative minimum tax is a situation where middle-income Americans will be paying more than the wealthier Americans because they lose their personal exemptions, they lose the exemption for State and local taxes, and they lose the exemptions for itemized deductions. Most of the benefits of the tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 will be evaporated for these taxpayers; and for anybody that has had to go through the alternative minimum tax, the compliance costs of having to fill out taxes in a dual universe, the normal way and the alternative minimum way, is much higher.
Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 4227 and allow us this year of time to have a long-term solution to fix the alternative minimum tax.