Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, this year Americans worked almost 100 days, from January 1 to April 9, to pay taxes at the Federal, State, and local levels, which is more than one-fourth of their income. I believe that it is totally unacceptable to require already stressed families to give up such a high share of their income while bloated Federal bureaucracy continues to expand during a severe recession. To reduce this burden, Congress should now focus on reforming the current complicated tax structure which makes it so much more difficult for families and small business owners to experience economic recovery.
As I called for in my last speech on tax reform, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Levin), needs to schedule hearings on tax reform simplicity as soon as possible. The Fair Tax proposal is one of those ideas that I believe the committee must consider. The Fair Tax is definitely a serious proposal that is backed by many Americans, including so many constituents of my congressional district, and it deserves our full consideration.
The Fair Tax would replace all Federal income and payroll-based taxes with a national retail sales tax and includes a rebate to ensure that no American below the poverty level pays Federal taxes. If enacted, the Fair Tax proposal would provide a dollar-for-dollar Federal revenue neutrality. According to the proposal's advocates, the Fair Tax would reform the current tax code. Today's tax code is unfair, costly, and confusing, and is so complex that many of us pay more in taxes per year than we should. It is estimated that the present system costs taxpayers $265 billion for tax filing, tax record-keeping, tax reduction advice, et cetera, which is $900 for every man, woman and child in America. This is taxation without comprehension.
The current income tax code inhibits economic growth, it inhibits capital formation, and it inhibits job creation. Fair Tax supporters believe tax reform can correct these problems by greatly reducing the high cost of compliance in the present system while lifting the income tax burden on production. I believe that a fair and balanced look at the Fair Tax should begin the conversation on tax reform, and I encourage my colleagues who are serious about having this discussion to join me in contacting the chairman.
Congress needs to remember the sacrifices that are made by each American family by making a real effort at tax reform this year.
As the American economy continues to stagnate with a record 10 percent unemployment rate, Congress needs to respond by taking a close look at tax reform, and yes, the Fair Tax also.