By Steve Parkhurst
Monday is Tax Day.
Tax Day awakens a lot of people (those who actually pay taxes) and it often gets a discussion started about reforms to the tax code. Jack Kemp advocated, and I personally still support, a Flat Tax system. While I have liked the Fair Tax, I would never trust the politicians (especially the Democrats) to fully implement a Fair Tax system, and I would not want the politicians to have the ability to easily or worse, quickly, change the percentage of the consumption tax collected.
Texas Congressman Michael Burgess, M.D., has filed a bill called simply, The Flat Tax Act, HR1040 (gotta love the 1040 number). Congressman Burgess recently released this video about the Flat Tax, and the transcript is posted just below the video.
Hello this is your Congressman Michael Burgess. You know every year, Americans spend over 6 billion hours preparing their tax forms. Additionally, the Internal Revenue Service has over 2,000 forms and instructions listed on their website. It’s past time to reform this system which actually turns 100 years old this year.
To help restore fairness to the tax code by treating everyone equally and incorporating the all-American principle of freedom,I have introduced HR 1040 – the Flat Tax Act. This legislation would provide taxpayers the option of having a flat tax applied to their annual income. Unlike previous versions of the flat tax, this act will allow individuals and business to choose when to opt into the system. In addition, it would have no loopholes, but would allow some personal exemptions like a standard deduction.
This legislation will also phase-in the flat tax over a three-year period – a 19-percent rate for the first two years and a 17-percent rate in subsequent years. The program would be optional. Individuals need a tax system that provides a clear understanding of how their financial decisions will affect them. The Flat Tax Act is pro-growth, and will make filing easier on everyone. This is based on common-sense economics.
When Ronald Reagan cut the tax code in half in 1986, the result of that reform worked. The economy grew, jobs were created, and revenues were increased. Now, more than ever, this reform is needed for our country, for our economy, and for our American citizens.
Thank you for taking the time to listen. For more information on legislative issues before the United States Congress, please visit my website, burgess.house.gov. May God bless you and your family – and as always, may God bless Texas.
Also, Congressman Dennis Ross of Florida has written an op-ed called A Simpler, Flatter, Fairer Tax, and while he does not specifically call for a Flat Tax, he does make some great general points about the current tax system and he has a few remedies of his own:
This year, I introduced HR 243, the BOLD Act, which would address these issues. It would implement aspects of the Bowles-Simpson Fiscal Commission’s recommendations for lowering America’s debt and simplifying our tax code. The Bowles-Simpson Commission was a bipartisan group created by President Obama in 2010 to determine ways to improve America’s economic situation. Unfortunately, the president has ignored all of its suggestions.
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First, we must reduce individual and corporate rates. The BOLD Act narrows the income tax into just two brackets: 10 percent for annual incomes less than $100,000 and 20 percent for incomes more than $100,000. My bill would set a flat corporate tax rate of 20 percent. Instead of having multiple tax brackets that favor people and companies who know where to find the loopholes, my legislation proposes lower, more fair tax rates for all.
Second, we must eliminate or phase out unfair tax policy, as recommended by the Bowles-Simpson Commission. Perfect examples are tax credits or reductions that pit various energy sources unfairly against each other.
More and more tax credits and deductions are added every year. They favor those people and corporations who have the funds to find and utilize the loopholes. Hardworking taxpayers can’t afford to pay for these special interest tax credits and loopholes.
Lowering the tax bracket and simplifying the tax code would still provide more-than-adequate funding for the necessary functions of government, and would give the benefit of simplicity and fairness in our tax system, better than tax loopholes.
Happy Tax Day Everybody! /sarcasm