As the Representative of a Congressional district with one of the highest costs of living in the country, I am a strong believer in keeping taxes low for hard-working Americans. In times of economic hardship, the last thing New York families and small businesses need is a greater tax burden.
Right now, our tax code is excessively complex and convoluted. I support a complete overhaul of the tax system by broadening the tax base and lowering rates. I hope Congress will soon make strides to achieve this needed overhaul.
Below is some of the recent work I have done in Congress to provide meaningful tax relief and improve U.S. competitiveness through the tax code:
* Reduce the Tax Burden for Hardworking American Families. I supported H.R. 8, which permanently extended the Bush tax cuts for 99% of Americans -- preventing a tax hike on the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers. This bill included a permanent extension of: the 10% income bracket for low-income filers, the capital gains and dividends tax rates, the child tax credit and the adoption tax credit, among others. It also provided a permanent patch on the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) to stop bracket-creep so that middle-income families aren't unfairly taxed, and codifies a set estate tax exemption and tax rate.
* Provide Tax Relief for Commuters. In 2009, Congress increased the amount workers were able to put away in pre-tax salary to use for mass transit (bus, rail, trolley, subway or ferry), bringing this benefit in line with the tax benefit for parking costs. I have been a strong supporter of commuter benefits parity, and am happy to report that a temporary extension of the mass transit benefit was secured as part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. Although the benefit expired on January 1, 2012, the ATRA restored it retroactively, and extends it at $245 through December 31, 2013 (keeping it from reverting to the pre-2009 level of $125). Over 2.7 million American families are assisted by the pre-tax mass transit benefit. In addition, the transit pre-tax savings accounts saved employers more than $300 million in payroll taxes in 2010, and saved Americans $8.4 billion at the pump. Between high fuel costs and road congestion, I believe we should be doing all we can to encourage public transportation in a way that is cost-effective for Long Island commuters. I will continue to press my colleagues to make the higher commuter benefit permanent.
* Repeal New Tax Burdens Enacted in the Health Care Law. In 2011, one of the first bills to pass the House was tax legislation (H.R. 4) that repealed the health care reform law's burdensome 1099 tax reporting requirement. I was an original cosponsor of this bill, which President Obama signed into law -- conceding that the requirement would have been harmful to small business.