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Tax Time Blues


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Tax Time Blues

by U.S. Representative Barbara Cubin

Tax time is always an unpleasant time of year. Despite the improving weather, without fail the federal government manages to rain a burdensome tax code to ruin our lovely spring days. Instead of taking time to enjoy the weather, we are stuck inside crunching numbers. In 2006 alone, the IRS estimated that individual and business taxpayers spent 6.65 billion hours complying with the tax laws. That is the equivalent of 3.2 million employees working 40-hour weeks year round without any vacation. Think about how much more free time you could enjoy outside with your family if we had a simpler tax code.

Why does the tax code have to be so long and complicated? I cannot think of a good reason other than to make it easier for the Internal Revenue Service to take more of our money and to impose more penalties on honest mistakes. This is one of the reasons why I am a co-sponsor of H.R. 25, the Fair Tax Act. This act would repeal the income, employment, estate and gift taxes, abolishing the Internal Revenue Service as we know it. To replace part of the revenue these sources previously gathered, this bill will impose a national sales tax, only taxing you on things you use and consume. It seems to be such a simple concept, yet the Democrats are preventing H.R. 25 from even being discussed in the Ways and Means Committee of the House, which oversees taxation.

The Fair Tax is by far my first choice for tax reform, but I understand the lofty goal of attempting to eliminate an entire federal agency. This is why I support other options that would at least make sure we are not taxed more under the current system. One of these is H.R. 2734, which makes permanent the Republican tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. Without passage of this bill, we stand to suffer an enormous tax increase in 2010. I do not know about you, but I do not think the government needs to get anymore of Americans' hard-earned dollars.

Rather than overhauling the tax code, the Democrats continue to make piecemeal changes, increasing the complexity of an already confusing law. This week we are scheduled to vote on H.R. 5719, the Taxpayer Assistance and Simplification Act, which makes a variety of little changes, resulting in more lines to our tax code.

In my opinion, our taxes are too high and too confusing. For example, did you know that 100% of the income the average American earns from January 1st to April 23rd (113 days) will go to pay federal, state, and local taxes in 2008? Thankfully, Congress has the authority to change the complicated, inconvenient system that the Internal Revenue Service implements to collect our taxes. It is my hope that Democrats listen when we say our taxes are too complicated, and we need a change.

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