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Jeb Bradley: Democrats will Hurt the Economy with Their Big Tax Hikes


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Jeb Bradley: Democrats will Hurt the Economy with Their Big Tax Hikes

AS NEW HAMPSHIRE voters prepare for the Jan. 8 presidential primary, the status of our nation's economy is increasingly a concern. While November's unemployment held steady at 4.7 percent, job growth has averaged under 100,000 new jobs for the last six months. High energy costs, high health care costs and credit concerns increasingly are impacting consumers and slowing the economy's ability to grow and create jobs.

One would think that given this economic climate Congress would consider aggressive measures to stimulate the economy, but unfortunately that is not the case. The Nancy Pelosi-led House has responded by voting on many occasions to increase taxes on Americans. Two separate energy bills would raise taxes by $23 billion. The farm bill would increase taxes by $7.5 billion. The Children's Health Insurance Program legislation would increase taxes by $71.5 billion. Legislation to index the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) for inflation and prevent more middle class Americans from paying the tax would actually increase taxes by $81 billion in one version and $55 billion in a more recent version. (Tax increases are over 10 years).

Currently 3.5 million Americans are subject to a parallel universe of taxation: the AMT, which was enacted in 1969 to ensure that 155 wealthy paid income taxes. The House has passed a one-year fix, but this dreaded tax remains on the books and returns next year. The House led by Pelosi, with the acquiescence of Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Paul Hodes, has twice voted to raise taxes on businesses, individuals and capital formation as part of the package to index the AMT for inflation. Repeal of the AMT makes more sense every day and should be wrapped into reform efforts to make our 60,000-page tax code flat and fair. One intriguing proposal by Rep. Paul Ryan would eliminate the AMT, make the lower rates for capital gains and dividends permanent and give taxpayers the option of paying a flat tax with a 10 percent rate for all income under $100,000 (with a family of four exemption of $39,000) and a 25 percent rate for income over $100,000. These House-passed tax increases all supported by Shea-Porter and Hodes are on top of their vote in the current budget that presumes repeal of the 2003 tax cuts that I voted for when I represented New Hampshire in Congress.

The 2003 tax cuts eliminated the marriage penalty, increased the child tax credit, allowed for greater small business investment and lowered the tax rate for every tax bracket. As a result of this last provision, several million low-income Americans now no longer pay income taxes. Democrats want to repeal each and every one of these tax breaks. Do they also want to repeal the 8 million new jobs that the 2003 tax cuts helped to create?

In addition, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Charlie Rangel, has proposed what he calls "the mother of all tax reforms." Translated, this means the largest tax increase in our nation's history: $3.5 trillion over 10 years. Not only would the Rangel plan, embraced naturally by Pelosi, raise taxes on virtually every taxpayer; it would even increase taxes by 25 percent on many small business owners -- the backbone of our economy and the engine of job growth in America. Perhaps the constant attempt to raid American's wallets is why the Democratic Congress has such low approval numbers. Here are just two examples of what is at stake for our economy as New Hampshire voters prepare for Jan. 8.

The farm bill's tax increase focuses on foreign companies that employ Americans. According to the Organization for International Investment, more than 5 million American jobs, including 34,000 New Hampshire jobs, could be affected by this tax hike. According to the Heritage Foundation, the Rangel tax plan could cost 1 million American jobs in 2013 and cost New Hampshire households an average of $2,366 annually. Thankfully, none of these tax hikes is likely to become law in 2008. They would be vetoed. Perhaps we should be thankful that Democrats in the House, including Shea-Porter and Hodes, have offered New Hampshire voters a peek at the Christmas tax present they are gift-wrapping for 2009; thus, the importance of the presidential primary and the November 2008 elections.

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