Op-Ed: Why We Need Tax Reform

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Washington, October 23, 2017 | comments
Many things have changed in our country since 1986. Back then, Cheers was the most popular show on television, the Internet wasn’t around, and the iPhone was unimaginable. We have come a long way since then. Unfortunately, our tax code is stuck in the past.
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Many things have changed in our country since 1986. Back then, Cheers was the most popular show on television, the Internet wasn’t around, and the iPhone was unimaginable. We have come a long way since then. Unfortunately, our tax code is stuck in the past. 

Late last month, President Trump and our party leaders unveiled a unified framework for reforming our tax code, an eight-page document outlining the direction we plan to take in the coming weeks and months. While I always wait for the final details of any piece of legislation before deciding whether to support it or not, the framework released last week emphasized two main goals that I wholeheartedly support: economic growth and simplicity.

To summarize, our plan would make bold changes to how our businesses are taxed with the goal of the kind of job growth we haven’t seen in years. One of the ways we plan to bring jobs back is by lowering the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, under the industrial average and significantly less than our current statutory rate of roughly 38 percent. Incentivizing companies to do business here instead of abroad is a goal that Republicans and Democrats share including former President Obama.

Another top priority of mine is to cut taxes for the middle class and make it easier to file taxes at the end of the year. One of the most striking statistics, according to the IRS, is that taxpayers spend on average more than ten hours doing their taxes every year. Between completing the forms, record-keeping, tax planning and other miscellaneous tasks, Americans are rightfully demanding a simpler process. 

Here are two ways we plan on meeting that demand. First, the plan would cut and collapse the personal income brackets from seven to three - 12 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent. While details on where income levels will fall are still being worked out, middle class Americans will receive a tax cut under this plan and have an easier time each year knowing how much they will owe.

The second way toward greater simplicity is our plan to double the standard deduction. Right now, the standard amount a single tax filer can deduct from the amount they’re taxed on is $6,000 (and $12,000 for joint filers). Under our framework, these numbers would be doubled and we would eliminate many itemized deductions - immediately making your tax filing that much easier. My thinking is pretty simple on this front. You already pay thousands of dollars to the federal government each year, why add more confusion and hurdles just to pay your taxes correctly?

There will be many people who will remain skeptical throughout this process. Skeptical that cutting taxes will actually lead to economic growth but our own state proves that tax reform works.

Forbes magazine recently published that “it's remarkable how much progress North Carolina has made in improving its business tax climate in recent years, going from having one of the worst businesses tax climates in the country, to one of the best today.” Since 2011, our state legislature has enacted multiple rounds of tax cuts and so far in 2017, North Carolina ranks fourth fastest in the pace of employment and the unemployment rate has shrunk to 4.1 percent

Congress should use North Carolina as an example and provide Americans with much needed tax relief. In a speech at a manufacturing plant in Michigan a couple of weeks ago, Vice President Pence said that “we’re going to put more money in the American people’s pockets, and President Trump -- he's going to sign a tax cut that will once again put the American people, American workers, and America first.” I’m ready to work with my colleagues to make this become a reality.


Read full op-ed in Greensboro News & Record here.
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Tags: Congress

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