American families, farmers and small businesses work hard to pay their fair share, while many of the wealthiest Americans and large corporations pay little to nothing in federal taxes. At the same time, other businesses trying to grow, compete and create jobs in the economy find themselves at a disadvantage in competing with foreign counterparts. Thankfully, there is widespread agreement across regions and party lines that we need real tax reform to simplify the system, help American businesses compete and make sure everyone pays their fair share.
After years of partisan battles over the Bush-era tax breaks for the wealthy, Congress finally passed the “Taxpayer Fairness and Relief Act” at the end of the 112th Congress. This legislation protected the middle class from sudden tax increases, while eliminating the Bush tax rates for individuals earning over $400,000 per year. The deal permanently set the estate tax at a level that exempts nearly every family farmer in New York’s 21st district by restricting the tax to those estates over $5 million (or $10 million for a couple). For these reasons and others, I supported the deal.
Moving forward, we have much work ahead to simplify the tax code and make it fairer for everyone. While taxes are critical to ensuring the availability of essential government services, the federal government has a responsibility to keep taxes low – especially on the middle class – and restrain government spending. There are over $1 trillion in loopholes and other tax expenditures used every year, many of which could be eliminated or reduced in return for lower tax rates across the board. I have long supported eliminating tax breaks for big oil and gas companies making record profits, as well as similar efforts like eliminating tax breaks for corporate jets. These are just a few of the steps we can take to increase revenue and free up resources to reduce taxes on small business job creators and middle class Americans.
It is no small task to rewrite the tax code. I support a thoughtful, bipartisan approach look forward to working with my colleagues to accomplish this important goal