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Q&A: Fixing America's Tax System

August 11, 2017
Senator Chuck Grassley , Dysart Reporter

Q: Are the stars aligned in Washington to enact comprehensive tax reform this year?

A: The White House and Congress are collaborating to fix the nation's broken tax code by prioritizing tax relief, tax fairness and tax simplification. Reducing the tax burden on wage earners would fatten paychecks and boost take-home pay. That's important for families struggling to make ends meet. Tax relief for small businesses means employers would be able to keep more resources to hire more workers, bump up wages, invest and expand their operations and compete for greater market share. Closing loopholes that penalize offshore earnings would help bring back jobs and corporate profits that are parked overseas. Revising or eliminating tax breaks would broaden the revenue base and reduce economic distortions that cause businesses and individuals to spend valuable resources on activities designed to reduce their tax burden rather than putting those resources to more productive uses. A simpler, fairer, and more pro-growth tax code would help strengthen our system of free enterprise to give the dreamers, the innovators and the job creators a better shot at achieving the American Dream. The tax system should restore more hard-earned money to budget ledgers where family breadwinners and small business owners can best decide how to save, spend and invest their income and earnings. Consider that small businesses have created the majority of net new jobs in America for the last half-century. And yet, they experience tax rates exceeding more than 40 percent. Imagine the shot in the arm that would occur on main streets across America with tax relief that lowers the burden on hard-working families working tirelessly to get ahead and stay ahead.

Q: What are you working on to secure as Congress negotiates a tax relief package?

A: Many frugal-minded Iowans will appreciate an observation of our nation's 40th president, "The problem is not that people are taxed too little. The problem is that government spends too much." I agree whole-heartedly with the wisdom imparted by President Ronald Reagan. It rings true today. Congress needs to rein in runaway government spending to restore fiscal discipline. Lowering the lid on deficit spending is the best way to tame the federal debt. Otherwise, pressure keeps mounting to raise taxes to feed the insatiable appetite of big spenders in Washington. The reality is that government cannot spend, borrow and tax America's way to prosperity. Consider the origins of our republic. America's revolution took root against the tyranny of a tax-hungry monarchy located half-way across the world. "Taxation without representation" became a rallying cry across the 13 colonies that echoes in the ears of 21st century Americans. Recently, our nation celebrated 241 years of independence on the Fourth of July. Throughout my years of public service, including 36 consecutive years holding a meeting in each of Iowa's 99 counties, tax relief is without a doubt one of the biggest concerns I hear about from Iowans everywhere I go. As former chairman of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, I steered through Congress bipartisan tax relief more than a decade ago. It included the first-ever 10 percent tax bracket, among other provisions to jump-start economic growth. However, it's been more than three decades since the sweeping tax overhaul signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. Today Congress and the president are working to simplify the tax code and deliver substantial reforms that will unleash economic growth and job creation. For several months I have been in discussions on Capitol Hill to negotiate comprehensive tax reform with three key principles: fairness, simplification and relief. I have a number of priorities I am bringing to the table, including my efforts to eliminate the federal estate tax so that Iowa farmers and family-owned businesses can continue to grow and prosper from one generation to the next. As always, I will bring the views of Iowans to the policymaking table. Keeping America competitive in the global economy is a pre-requisite for long-term prosperity for U.S. workers. That means modernizing antiquated international tax laws and closing loopholes to unleash investment and job creation here at home. The United States needs bold reform and a pro-growth tax regime in place so Americans can achieve a better, brighter future for generations yet to come.



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