Photo credit: 401(K) 2012 via Flickr  (CC-By-SA 2.0)

Photo credit: 401(K) 2012 via Flickr  (CC-By-SA 2.0)

When watching or reading news, we often hear the strides our economy is making – from the low unemployment rate in our state to the stock market continuing to set record highs nearly every week. However, when speaking with folks across Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, recognize not all our friends and neighbors are seeing the benefits of our improving economy. Too many are feeling left out or left behind.

I hear stories from hardworking families from Glenwood to Indianola living paycheck to paycheck. I hear from individuals from Bedford to Panora working two or three jobs to make ends meet.

I hear stories from small business owners struggling to keep or grow their business because their taxes are too high. I hear pleas from manufacturers in Des Moines and Atlantic who can’t invest in and expand their production because of uncertainty from Washington.

I hear from farmers in Ringgold County worrying about being able to pass their farm to their kids and grandkids – which has been in the family for generations – because of the death tax. And as commodity prices have fallen, high land values and inputs have left farmers struggling to pay their bills or save.

Traders on Wall Street are driving the stock market to new highs and making money, but hardworking, middle-class Iowans are left on the sidelines. According to the Pew Research Center, median household income for middle class Americans in 2015 was 4 percent less than in 2000.

The United States Census Bureau reports the median household income in Iowa last year was $59,094. The median household income in the Midwest in 2000 was $44,261 but when adjusted to 2016 dollars, the number jumps to $61,710. This means Iowa families have less purchasing power now than they did almost 17 years ago. Congress must do more to free up the economy and help Iowans and all Americans keep up with the increasing costs they’re seeing as they sit at the kitchen table and plan their budgets.

A contributor to the absence of an increase in household income is the struggles our small businesses have experienced because of Washington rules and regulations, and an ever-growing and overcomplicated tax code. In 2006, 614,024 businesses were created in the United States. In 2014, only 454,835 U.S. businesses were created, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA). Business growth across the country is needed so folks can find better, good-paying jobs and support their families. The SBA reports, over 60 percent of new private-sector jobs are created by small businesses and they are responsible for 48 percent of all private sector employment.

There are hardworking Iowans – our family members and neighbors – across the Third District putting in extra time to help their families get ahead, but the government simply hasn’t been there to provide a positive environment. Simplifying our tax code to make it fair and simple will allow the economy to reach its full potential.

When Iowans get their paychecks and see how much is being taken in taxes, it can be frustrating. Our tax plan will result in more take home pay for a few reasons. The first is tax relief for hardworking Iowans.

Our new tax framework in Congress lowers tax rates and doubles the standard deduction. This means the first $12,000 of income for individuals and $24,000 for married couples – will be tax free.

Second, the plan will increase paychecks and economic growth by reducing the tax burdens for job creators and businesses of all sizes. The United States has one of the highest tax rates for business in the developed world. This makes us less competitive. By reducing taxes on job creators, an owner can invest in their business and their communities through expansion, upgrades, and growth. The result will be more good-paying jobs and a stronger and growing economy for our families.

Our proposed tax relief framework also significantly reduces the 75,000 pages of our tax code which is littered with special interest loopholes and favors. Americans spend around $99 billion a year filing their taxes. I want Iowans to be able to file their taxes on a simple postcard. Folks will save money by simply making it easier to file taxes.

The tax code hasn’t been updated in more than 30 years – in 1986! This is truly a once-in-a-generation opportunity to set Iowa and the country on the path to historic economic growth. Growth means more money to support a young family, the ability to save more to send a child to college, more freedom to spend time with your family, and greater opportunities for all Americans.

It is time to unshackle the economy from a broken tax code that is holding us back from reaching the progress we are capable of achieving. When folks have more money in their pockets, the economy grows and people are empowered with new opportunities.

Tax relief and simplification is the goal Washington should work toward to benefit our families and communities. I’m working towards these goals and I’ll continue to fight in Congress because that’s what Iowans deserve.

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