By George Talbot
U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, is pushing a pair of proposals that he says could help solve the nation's financial problems.
The first is a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which he said would curb runaway spending by ensuring that the federal government does not spend more money than it takes in each year.
The second is a bill to establish a flat income tax rate of 17 percent, an idea that Shelby said would drastically simplify the tax code, reduce Americans' tax burden, eliminate corporate welfare, and boost American competitiveness.
Shelby, ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, introduced the dual legislation on Tuesday. He said he has consistently advocated for both proposals since his election to the Senate in 1986.
"We spend too much. We borrow too much. We tax too much. We need straightforward solutions to these clear problems," Shelby said.
Shelby was one of just eight senators who voted earlier this month against legislation to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff." He said he opposed the bill because it would lead to more borrowing, and that he was committed to finding solutions to the nation's ballooning debt.
"Instead of lurching from crisis to crisis and fixing nothing, we should carefully weigh and enact measures that will establish fiscal sanity, spark economic growth, and foster job creation," Shelby said.
"In my judgment, these proposals will revive our economy by reducing government spending and creating an environment conducive to private sector growth."