Whether visiting one-on-one with constituents, touring local businesses, talking with members of our Chambers of Commerce, or having a discussion with members of Rotary or Kiwanis Clubs, everyone wants to talk about how we can make our community and our nation better and stronger. Everyone wants to roll up their sleeves and make a difference for their children and their grandchildren. Working together, you and I have many opportunities to be difference-makers, but there is one opportunity that is presenting itself right now: tax reform.
Undeniably, that term “tax reform” means different things to different people, but amid all of those differing opinions within that context, there is clearly common ground on which to build. Perhaps the single most agreed upon goal of reform is the need for simplicity—simplicity that leads to better compliance and more quality economic growth.
Let me be clear: I support the FairTax and the FairTax fulfills the goal of simplicity better than any other bill in Congress. Therein is the issue, as many in Congress and the White House desire a little complexity. Just a little, they say. Some want a tax credit for having children, a tax deduction for home mortgage interest, a tax credit for taking care of a parent, a tax deduction for starting your own business, and more.
The simple fact is that the White House doesn’t support a change as big and bold as the FairTax, but before any of us focus on that bad news, let me share the great news: Congress and the White House do support the biggest, boldest move toward simplicity and economic growth through fundamental tax reform that America has seen since Ronald Reagan was President — and we have a shot at doing even more than he was able to do.
We’ve begun that process in the House of Representatives by approving a balanced budget that unlocks tremendous possibilities for delivering on the promise of tax reform. With a willing partner in the White House and an existing unified tax reform framework (you heard me right: an agreement on all the common principles, and an aggressive timeline forward among the House, the Senate, and the White House; imagine that.), I believe we’re on the cusp of the long-awaited movement we want to see.
Speaker Paul Ryan, House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady and my Republican colleagues and I have worked to craft a framework that leverages the need for fairness, simplicity, and focuses on leaving more hard-earned money in the pockets of the American people. The current tax code is far too complex, but that doesn’t mean the solution has to be. In fact, we believe the solution is fairly cut-and-dry. Rates for individuals, families, and businesses should be lower, brackets should be consolidated, and unnecessary – not to mention harmful – taxes such as the Alternative Minimum Tax and “Death Tax” should be gone altogether. So many of these principles of simplicity are ones that we have driven forward with the FairTax for years, and now these ideas are codified in our common plan. Now is the time to make that giant step forward the law of land.
The President has been very clear that tax reform is a priority for his administration, and it remains at the top of my and Chairman Brady’s list for Congress as well. But most importantly, it’s a top concern for the American people. That’s really the source of my optimism. When America gets behind a task, nothing can stop us. Whether it’s phone calls, letters, or emails I receive from constituents, or when I visit Seventh District businesses, the marching orders for Washington are clear: less time and money should be spent on complying with a convoluted tax code. That, in turn, means more freedom and opportunity for success here at home. When we place undue burdens on employers as well as employees, we only hurt ourselves. When our tax policies hinder small businesses from hiring new employees, or drive corporations to move production outside our borders, it’s our communities that pay the price and it’s our economic growth that is stunted. While that has been the tale of the past, it doesn’t have to be the story going forward. And it won’t be.
Moving forward requires joining forces on those things on which we agree today, and coming back tomorrow to work for more. I’ve never made a secret of my conviction that the FairTax (H.R. 25) would be the biggest transfer of power from Washington back to the American people in a century and would unleash the power of our economy unlike anything America has seen in modern time.
That belief is why I think that it is so important that we do what we can today to make a difference…all the while planning to wake up tomorrow and work for more. I know that our work on the FairTax has moved the needle dramatically in the right direction for tax reform, and in the coming months we will have an opportunity to translate that momentum into a new tax law for our land. No longer will America be at the bottom of the international tax pile; together we will have an opportunity to move America back to the top. That’s the opportunity we have with tax reform, and I’m committed to partnering with the President, my colleagues in Congress, and especially you here at home to get it done.
U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga., represents the 7th Congressional District of Georgia, which includes the majority of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties, and currently serves as Chairman of the Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process, as well as serving on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and Budget Committee.