Congressman Jerry Lewis voted early Friday to keep tax rates reduced for all taxpayers, as well as limiting the death tax and providing incentives for private businesses to increase hiring and expansion. Lewis supported the tax relief package as the best possible way for government to help improve the economy and put Americans back to work.
"The absolute worst possible thing Congress could do during an economic downturn would be to increase taxes -- and if we did not take the action we did Friday, taxes would go up by as much as $100 a week for every American starting January 1," Lewis said. "This legislation keeps in place tax reductions that Congress has approved in the past, and provides certainty for business owners who are waiting to decide if they can afford to begin hiring."
The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 maintains current tax rates on wage and investment income for the next two years. It retains the marriage penalty relief and the $1,000 child tax credit, and limits increases in the Alternative Minimum Tax for millions of middle class families, Lewis said. On inheritance taxes, the bill institutes a 35 percent tax rate on estates over $5 million -- without the change, the death tax would revert to the 2011 and 2012 tax rate of 55 percent and exemption of $1 million. It would also continue the current tax rate of 15 percent on capital gains, rather than the 20 percent that would have gone into effect on Jan. 1, 2011.
"We were facing automatic increases that would take $625 billion more from Americans' pockets," Lewis said. "We have heard from business leaders across the country that this would have a devastating effect on job-creation and economic growth."
The bill also provides tax relief to millions of individuals and businesses through the extension of other important provisions, such as the R&D tax credit and the deduction for state and local sales taxes, Lewis said.
The legislation includes a 13-month extension of expanded unemployment benefits, as well as a reduction in the Social Security payroll tax from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent for all income up to $106,800, which will provide immediate tax relief to all who are employed, Lewis said.
"By passing this bill, Congress will make the holidays a little brighter for every working American -- as well as those who are seeking a way to get back to work," Lewis said. "It is the most important step we can take to help our economy in the coming year."