Uncertainty is in the air this holiday season, as lawmakers are yet to pass legislation preventing Obama’s tax hikes from affecting all taxpayers on January 1, 2011. Even though Congress likely will vote on a tax bill in the next 16 days, more uncertainty is just around the corner.
As a former federal tax attorney, I know our nation’s current tax system is onerous and confusing. The new majority must take a cold hard look at our way of doing business. According to an article in today’s Wall Street Journal, we find ourselves in a perpetual state of temporary tax codes:
“In the late 1990s, there were typically fewer than a dozen tax provisions that had just a limited lease on life and needed to be renewed every year or so.
"Today there are 141.
"Now Congress, taking up a deal worked out between the Obama administration and Republican leaders, is poised to turn the whole personal income-tax system into something of a temporary structure. The plan embraces a broad range of provisions—an extension of Bush-era rates, a new estate-tax formula—but for only two years. A payroll-tax cut in the bill is for a single year.
"This means that if the compromise passes largely intact, the U.S. will have no permanent regime governing levies on salaries, capital gains and dividends, the Social Security tax, as well as a slew of targeted breaks for families, students and other groups. This on top of dozens of corporate-tax provisions that already were subject to annual renewal.
"The level of uncertainty, unusual for developed nations, complicates planning and discourages hiring and investment, many economists and corporate executives say.”
Our founding fathers never intended a larger-than-life government manipulating our very economy via the tax code. We can start to reverse this course by focusing on pro-growth measures that will provide needed certainty to businesses and families. The 112thCongress should consider cutting the corporate tax rate to make it more attractive for businesses seeking to operate in the industrialized world. I would also like to see the zeroing out of capital gains taxes. Then, let’s reduce all marginal personal income tax rates for individuals and start debate on ending the death tax. Better yet, given our nation’s dire economic situation, let’s begin a serious discussion about whether or not to scrap the current tax code and replace it with a fairer, flatter tax code. I think Americans would appreciate slashing the tax code to a fraction of its current length of more than 50,000 pages.
The American people have given Republicans a second chance. In the 112th Congress, it is my desire to see Congress bring greater simplicity to our tax policy. As a small business owner myself I know a pro-growth economy is possible and one place to start is through tax code certainty for small businesses, corporations and families.