Tax Cuts and Earmark Reform: Two Ideas We Can All Support
Congressman Jim Jordan (R-Urbana) today released the following column.
The State of the Union address, delivered annually to a joint session of Congress, often outlines a President's vision for changing the country and details legislative proposals needed to make those changes.
Two such proposals stood out from President Bush's recent State of the Union speech--both of which deserve further, more detailed consideration.
First, the President announced his support for a $150 billion economic stimulus package that includes tax cuts for businesses and rebate checks to individuals and families. This bipartisan plan has passed the House and Senate and has been signed by the President.
The Treasury Department is currently finalizing plans to issue rebates to taxpayers. This summer, 130 million Americans will start receiving these rebates: up to $600 per individual and $1,200 per couple, with additional rebates for families with children.
I supported this plan as a short-term measure to put more money into the hands of taxpayers and families. But I believe that our economy also needs long-term, pro-growth economic policies in the areas of tax cuts, spending reductions, and removing unreasonable regulation.
These are the core components of a bill I helped introduce shortly before the stimulus package was announced. Our bill would provide tax incentives for businesses to invest and create jobs, encouraging the purchase of new equipment and software and making it easier to buy or renovate facilities. It would also reduce corporate and capital gains taxes to help make our business sector more competitive.
I believe the private sector--not government--creates jobs and prosperity. As such, the federal tax code should be designed to enhance private sector productivity, not to maximize revenues to the government.
Across America, and particularly in our part of Ohio, small and family-owned businesses are the engines of our economy. Whether in manufacturing, agriculture, or elsewhere, they are the job creators--and they should be the target of any measure designed to boost long-term economic growth.
The second proposal of note in President Bush's speech was his intent to veto any legislation that does not reduce earmarks by 50 percent or more.
Earmarks are congressional mandates that tax dollars be spent on certain projects or programs.
Some argue in favor of congressional earmark authority, saying that when it comes to spending federal dollars, members of Congress have a better understanding of projects in their districts than bureaucrats in Washington.
However, I believe that earmark abuse in both political parties has grown so rampant that it calls the entire practice into question. Two examples come to mind.
Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) threatened to quit Congress if money for his massive $223 million earmark for a bridge between sparsely populated Ketchikan and Gravina Island--later termed the "Bridge to Nowhere"--was diverted to other projects.
The powerful House Ways and Means Committee Chairman, Charlie Rangel (D-New York), secured a $2 million earmark for the creation of the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service, which includes the Rangel Conference Center, a "well-furnished office for Charles Rangel," and the Charles Rangel Library for his papers and memorabilia.
I have cosponsored legislation that, if passed, would require a one-year moratorium on earmarks to provide time for a select committee to help identify and root out this type of waste, fraud, and abuse.
Both tax cuts and earmark reform are positive steps to returning fiscal accountability and competitiveness to America's economy and the federal budget. I anticipate working on both of these issues, along with renewing efforts to eliminate excess spending from the federal budget, as the 2008 session of Congress progresses.
We welcome your comments on these and any issues facing you and your family. Please contact us at jordan.house.gov or by phone at any of our district offices.