Judging by the way “Tax Day” is printed on many calendars in the U.S., one might think April 15 is a national holiday in our country. However, as millions of hardworking taxpayers across the country are well aware, Tax Day is anything but a holiday. This April 15 will not be an exception.
As a result of the current economic downturn, many Americans are likely to find Tax Day 2009 even more stressful than years past. Families and small businesses who are struggling financially have had to make difficult financial decisions in order to pay their taxes. In return, they expect the federal government to show fiscal restraint and spend their tax dollars wisely.
With hundreds of billions of dollars recently spent on corporate bailouts and more than $1 trillion spent on the president’s so-called stimulus plan, it is clear that taxpayers’ expectations were not met – a fact that will make Tax Day more painful for many Americans this year.
UNIVERSAL TAX HIKE
In the wake of the passage of the bailout and bloated stimulus bills – measures I strongly opposed – President Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress had the opportunity to prove Washington can be better stewards of taxpayer dollars by passing a budget that spends wisely and keeps taxes low. Unfortunately for taxpayers, they made the decision to loosen the government’s belt while people across the country are left tightening theirs.
The Democrats passed a budget earlier this month that spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much. Rather than helping guide our country out of recession by outlining a plan that spends taxpayer money prudently and keeps taxes low, their budget calls for a striking amount of taxation, including a “cap and trade” program that will result in a national energy tax costing the average household $3,000 annually; a new tax on charitable giving; a tax increase on investment income many senior citizens rely on; and a provision that maintains the “death tax” that punishes small businesses and family farms. All told, this budget calls for the largest tax increase in history – nearly $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years.
A BETTER WAY
There is a better way forward. In order to get our country out of this recession and on the path to sustained, long-term economic prosperity, Congress should implement policies that limit government spending in order to keep taxes low on America’s families and small businesses.
We have seen this approach work in the past. In response to our last recession in 2001, Congress provided meaningful tax relief for families and small businesses by lowering taxes on everyone who paid them. Congress then reduced the marriage penalty tax, increased the child tax credit, and phased out the death tax. These tax cuts paved the way for 52 consecutive months of job growth – the longest period of uninterrupted growth on record.
For over 14 years in Congress, I have supported policies that keep your taxes low for a simple reason: I believe tax dollars are your money, not the government’s money. As we have seen in the past, when taxpayers are allowed to keep more of what they earn, jobs are created and our economy benefits.
This is a fact that is lost on too many in Washington – and it is a fact I will continue to try to impress upon my colleagues. In doing so, I believe it is possible to make your Tax Day a little less burdensome in the years to come.