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Jackson Cit Pat: Comprehensive tax reform needed to make tax code simpler and fairer

September 18, 2013
Opinion Editorial

By Rep Walberg

As it stands today, our tax code favors big business and special interests; it's confusing for taxpayers and hurts economic growth. However, despite these unpleasant realities that impact all of us we can reverse course with comprehensive tax reform that will make the tax code simpler and fairer for everyone.

Look, not only is our current tax system broken, but the agency in charge of enforcing it is too. This past year we've found out that the IRS has been targeting individuals based on personal beliefs. Americans are rightly concerned that this abuse may continue under Obamacare, where the IRS's power will only increase as it takes on 50 new powers and responsibilities of managing your money.

Many of us are also already painfully aware of how long it takes just to comply to the complicated tax code. The average family spends 13 hours collecting all the paperwork they need to even file their taxes, and our country as a whole spends over 6 billion hours and $168 billion just trying to comply. Filing one's taxes has become so confusing and messy that nearly 90 percent of people hire a professional or buy software to do it.

I often hear from many of you at my town halls and coffees that the current tax code benefits big corporations and special interests over families and small businesses and you're right. The complexity of the code hurts the economy and benefits those who can afford lawyers and accountants at the expense of average taxpayers like us. In the meantime, small businesses now face tax rates at over 44 percent. You don't need to own a small business to realize that a 44% tax rate is unsustainable and will force many employers to close shop.

That's why we need tax reform and why we need it soon. The last three House Republican budgets have included just two individual tax rates of 10 and 25 percent, would repeal the alternative minimum tax (AMT) and establish a flat corporate rate of 25 percent. We've also held over 25 hearings on the issue and created 11 bipartisan working groups to look into the matter.

But we also understand that we don't have all the answers and that's why input from you continues to be so important. Earlier this year Congress launched, a new website to serve as a platform for everyone who wants to weigh in on the issue. Your input will be vital as Congress further develops tax reform solutions or chooses to pursue existing legislative proposals like the Fair Tax, which I have continued to cosponsor.

Tax reform should not simply be about making people pay or send more money to Washington. There is already enough money in Washington. Instead tax reform should be about making the 70,000 page code simpler and fairer so our economy gets stronger by helping families and creating better jobs with better pay. Let's get America and Michigan working again with a tax code and real solutions we all deserve.

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