For most of us April 17th of this year was the deadline for filing our federal tax returns. Did you also know that it was Tax Freedom Day? That means it took the average American 107 days, from the beginning of January to April 17th, to earn enough money to cover his or her combined 29.2% federal, state, and local tax bill for 2012. It was four days later this year because of higher federal income and corporate tax collections.
The national debt, government spending and higher taxes were all hot topics at recent town halls I held around our area.
The national debt is now more than $15,600,000,000,000, which equates to $50,000 for every man, woman and child.
The interest we pay on that is consuming an increasingly large portion of the tax bill. At $454,393,280,417.03, our interest paid in 2011 accounted for 12.6% of federal expenditures and consumed 19.7% of federal revenue (your taxes).
From the interest rate on your mortgage to the value of every dollar you hold in your pocket, America's credit worthiness is, in one way or another, shared by all of its citizens, and I fear that our historically strong reputation is at risk. The good news - I firmly believe that when faced with the truth and given all of the information, the public can and will make the right decisions. It is time for Members of Congress to have a frank and open discussion with their constituents about the future of our government, which is why I held those town halls. Just like debates in Washington, we had views expressed from both sides of the deficit reduction debate. The passion expressed was energizing and the ideas presented were informative.
I want to keep the lines of communication open, so if you couldn't make it to one of the meetings, please share your thoughts by calling my office, sending me an email or using social media -- like Facebook (facebook.com/RepJoeBarton) and Twitter (@RepJoeBarton).
Every opportunity to talk to the people here provides me with more homegrown ideas for my work in Washington. Your willingness to be a part of that conversation is greatly appreciated