Mr. Speaker, I rise today to urge what a colleague from Georgia called a “legacy vote” – making permanent the tax cuts Republicans enacted back in 2001 and 2003. I couldn’t agree more and let me say why – because we are making PERMANENT tax policies REPUBLICANS originally crafted.
Now, back then, despite having a majority in the House, a majority in the Senate and a Republican in the White House, those policies were only temporary. That’s because Democrats refused to join Republicans in providing tax relief for working families. Well, after more than a decade of criticizing these tax cuts, Democrats are finally joining Republicans in making these tax cuts permanent. Republicans and the American people are getting something really important – permanent tax relief.
As big as that is, it is only the first step when it comes to taxes. This legislation settles the level of revenue Washington should bring in. Next, we need to make the tax code simpler and fairer for families and small businesses. And, we need to pursue comprehensive and fundamental tax reform to make American businesses and workers more competitive in the global marketplace.
Simply put, the tax code is a nightmare. It is too complex, too time-consuming and too costly. About 60 percent of individual taxpayers have to hire others to do their tax returns because the code is too complicated. As a result, if tax compliance were an industry, it would be one of the largest in the United States and would consume 6.1 billion hours – the equivalent of more than three million full-time workers.
And, yes, it is still too costly. In 2008 alone, taxpayers spent $163 billion complying with the individual and corporate income tax rules.
Add to that the fact that the U.S. has the highest corporate tax rate in the OECD and an outdated worldwide system of taxation and it is not too difficult to imagine why many do not view America as an attractive place to invest and hire.
Nothing about the bill we are considering tonight changes any of those realities. That is why the Ways and Means Committee will pursue comprehensive tax reform in the new Congress.
So, by making Republican tax cuts permanent, we are one-step closer to comprehensive tax reform that will help strengthen our economy and create more and higher paychecks for American workers. I urge my colleagues to support this bill and get us one-step closer to tax reform.