Tax reform should boost jobs, not gov’t spending

Published 7:00 am Thursday, January 29, 2015

President Obama is pitching more of the same tax-and-spend proposals – this time to a Republican majority in Congress. In his State of the Union address on January 20, he outlined a tax plan that follows a formula as misguided as it is familiar: funding more government bureaucracy by imposing billions of dollars in tax hikes over the next decade.
Finding Common Ground
The tone of the annual speech was hardly an olive branch to conservatives. We have repeatedly urged the President to work with us on bipartisan ideas to revitalize economic growth.
Historically, times of divided government have provided prime opportunities for addressing protracted challenges like the complicated U.S. tax system. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has said tax reform is his top priority as the new chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
Both Republicans and Democrats agree that simplifying America’s 70,000-page tax code is long overdue. Necessary reforms include closing special-interest loopholes, lowering tax rates, and ensuring that business expansion and job creation are encouraged, not punished. The goal should be to free the economy from the restraints of over-taxation and over-regulation and get more Americans back to work and on the road to success – not to fuel a big-government agenda. Simply put, Americans should be allowed to keep more of their hard-earned money to spend and invest as they see fit, putting it back into the economy to spur entrepreneurship, innovation, and productivity.
Challenging Obamacare’s Mandates
The President’s health-care law is a prime example of government intrusion with a crushing price tag. In addition to the rising premiums and cancellations in coverage, Obamacare is expected to cause major confusion during this year’s tax season. It is the first time that the law will be included on Americans’ tax forms, prompting experts to warn that filing taxes could be especially frustrating.
Under the health-care law’s individual mandate, Americans who did not purchase government-approved insurance in 2014 will be penalized $95 or one percent of their income, whichever is greater. Likewise, those who received insurance subsidies could owe money back to the government if they underestimated their incomes or their salaries have changed.
I have consistently championed efforts to repeal the health-care law and its burdensome mandates on American families and businesses. These efforts are still underway in the new Congress. One bill I have cosponsored, titled the “American Liberty Restoration Act,” would completely strike the tax penalty on uninsured Americans. Another would change the law’s definition of a full-time workweek from 30 hours back to 40 hours, protecting workers from losing their jobs or work hours as companies struggle to comply.
‘A Matter of Necessity’
Empowering job creators and offering tax relief to American workers means recognizing the financial burdens they bear because of a sweeping health-care law and broken tax code.
In a recently released report from the Senate Finance Committee on tax reform, Sen. Hatch wrote that fixing the tax system is not “an optional exercise” but “a matter of necessity.”
The promise of a lasting economic recovery and the future of the American worker depend on comprehensible tax laws and confidence in free markets, without the threat of punitive tax burdens and onerous compliance costs.

By Senator Roger wicker

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