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April: Taxes... Budget... ADA Lawsuit Abuse... and More


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COME AND GONE, ANOTHER TAX FILING DEADLINE--Millions of Americans spent the first part of the week tracking down and finalizing their tax forms before Tuesday's filing deadline. For these individuals and countless others, tax-time is an unfriendly reminder of a burdensome and outdated tax code that costs hard-working families time and money. The IRS reports that it takes the American people 7 billion hours and $160 billion a year to comply.

THERE HAVE BEEN ALMOST 5,000 CHANGES TO THE TAX CODE in the last decade. That's one change a day, on average. Such seemingly unending alterations are a direct product of the complicated nature and extraordinary depth of the current tax code. More so, these recurring changes reflect the need for comprehensive tax reform, creating a more workable system that is both fair and efficient.

NOT A SPEED READ. The tax code totals 3.8 million words. That makes a lot of pages to turn. To put this in perspective, reading the tax code would take just as long as reading War and Peace--seven times.

FIRST NOT ALWAYS BEST. Earlier this month, Japan made the decision to lower its corporate tax rate. Previously home to the world's highest corporate tax rate, Japan no longer holds the top-spot. That now belongs to the U.S., with a combined effective rate of 39.2 percent.

TURNING TO THE BUDGET, House Republicans once again passed a robust budget plan that takes a major step towards eliminating overhanging debt burdens and putting programs such as Medicare and Medicaid on sound fiscal footing for future generations. Meanwhile, the Senate has still not proposed a budget--and it won't, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

THE IMPACT: The real cost-drivers in the federal budget are "entitlements," which now amount to 60 percent of the budget, compared to just 20 percent in 1970. Conversely, national defense spending, which has already been cut by $450 billion and faces additional reductions, was almost 40 percent of the budget in the 1970s. Today, defense spending amounts to slightly more than 17 percent, which includes the cost of overseas operations. Absent a budget, the cost-drivers only become more costly and inefficient, in essence accelerating their insolvency.

UNLIKE THE SENATE, THE PRESIDENT AT LEAST PROPOSED A BUDGET. The House even voted on the plan, rejecting it by a vote of 0-414. The following chart--Obama's budget: "Interest Payments Will Exceed Defense Budget' in 2019--explains one reason why it didn't earn a single vote of support.

STOCK ACT AND JOBS ACT SIGNED INTO LAW. The unanimous rejection of the Administration's budget--also occurring in the U.S. Senate--was not the only display of Congressional consensus in recent weeks. The President did sign two bipartisan pieces of legislation into law--the Stock Act and the Jobs Act. Read more: Signing ceremonies emphasize joint efforts.

NY TIMES: DISABILITIES ACT PROMPTS FLOOD OF SUITS SOME CITE AS UNFAIR. Predatory lawyers are not slowing down when it comes to filing lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act, often targeting small businesses and settling out of court. Read the story from the NY Times here. California and San Diego are experiencing the same problem, thus prompting my legislation in Congress. H.R. 881, the ADA Notification Act, would require businesses to comply with the ADA, but provide a 90-day window for employers to correct any reported violations before legal action can begin.

CHECK OUT MY LATEST COMMENTARY, It's Time for the Real Unemployment Calculation Act. Following the release of the latest unemployment figures, legislation I introduced, H.R. 4128, the Real Unemployment Calculation Act, continues to receive favorable attention. More information about my legislation is available here.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST… This month, I authored and signed a letter with Democratic Congressman Rob Andrews, following up on a provision we put in law that prohibits the military from limiting recruitment among nontraditional students.

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