By Representative Tim Walberg
In the weeks and months ahead, our great country faces a series of significant challenges, the most immediate being the so-called fiscal cliff that significantly includes tax increases mandated by law.
No one wants to go off the fiscal cliff, which would both raise taxes on hard-working families and stand in the way of small business job creation.
Our economy remains weak as many people are struggling to find, and keep, a good job. Instead of focusing on a quick-fix solution, the president and Congress need to agree on a long-term plan that pulls our economy away from these tax increases and puts it back on a path to growth and prosperity.
Raising taxes will force many households to cut back even more. That's not fair to these families that have acted responsibly with their money and made the tough choices to avoid going into debt. On average, families would pay between $2,000 and $3,000 more a year due to these higher taxes -- thousands of dollars less to spend on food, clothing, education and housing.
Higher taxes would also hurt small businesses, which are already operating on slim margins. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, nearly one million small businesses across the country would be hit with tax increases, possibly forcing layoffs of existing employees and certainly reducing the likelihood of new hiring. According to the independent accounting firm Ernst and Young, going over the fiscal cliff and raising tax rates will cost our economy 700,000 jobs.
A better alternative than simply increasing tax rates must be considered. I believe we need to use this opportunity to develop long-term plans to address both our fiscal crisis and jobs crisis.
First, the federal government needs to live within its means, because trillion-dollar deficits threaten our economy and opportunities for future generations. I support immediate spending reductions, determining the most prudent long-term structural reforms and a Balanced Budget Amendment to hold Congress accountable and require fiscal responsibility.
Second, we need tax reform to grow our economy, encourage job creation and bring in more revenues. I support tax reform that lowers tax rates, dramatically simplifies the tax code and closes loopholes, because together these reforms will help families, bring back jobs from overseas, provide incentives for small businesses and bring in more revenue through economic growth and more jobs.
Bottom line: We need to make policy changes to grow our economy, promote more jobs here in south-central Michigan and return our country to a fiscal responsible path. My colleagues and I in the House are eager to work with the president and Senate to pass and enact these reforms. It's time to work together for the good of our country.