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Rep. Scott Garrett : Our tax system needs comprehensive reform


April, 17, 2016
By Rep. Scott Garrett (New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District)

Ridgewood NJ, For too long, tax and spend politicians have used the tax code to confiscate more money from working families in New Jersey because they believe the government can spend the funds better than those that earned it. And each tax season, New Jerseyans are painfully reminded of their high tax burden.

At over 70,000 pages containing 4 million words, chances are you didn’t read the entire U.S. tax code before filing your taxes this year. In fact, the tax code is so long and complicated that you probably ended up having to pay a person or a service for their expertise — all the while hoping that they read and understood all 70,000 pages.

This is a tax code in desperate need for reform. Reform that keeps more money in New Jersey, ends the special interest loopholes, and lowers the overall tax margins for everyone.

Keep the money at home

Some politicians view tax reform and the ever-growing government as yet another opportunity to empower themselves at the expense of hardworking New Jersey taxpayers. By advocating for more programs and more benefits, big government spenders are really placing their faith in bureaucrats. So rather than send taxpayer dollars to Washington and hope bureaucrats send it back, I am fighting to keep more of your money in your own pocket.

Our overly complex tax code is the lifeblood of the biggest scam perpetuated by Washington politicians. They take your hard-earned money through a broken tax system that no one understands, and then cut backroom deals to give this money to their favored programs. And if some tiny amount actually comes home, the taxpayers are supposed to thank Washington for giving some of it back.

Think of it this way. If someone stole a $50 bill out of your pocket, would you thank that person after they brought you a happy meal from a fast food restaurant? f course not! It’s your money and you know better how it should be spent.

Even the playing field

Next, we must end the tax benefit system bestowed to Washington’s favored industries. The current tax code is a grab bag of loopholes, deductions, and escape routes for those fortunate enough to be able to hire an army of tax attorneys and lobbyists.

Every year, pinstriped lobbyists descend upon Washington to receive their tax carve outs — known as tax credits — for their industry. Not only does this arrangement let the federal government pick winners and losers, it misallocates the capital investment that so many struggling industries need. And the individual taxpayer, who has no lobbyist in Washington, is left picking up the tab.

This is not the type of economic liberty and freedom of opportunity the Founders envisioned.

New Jerseyans should no longer be expected to pay for government favors enjoyed by mega-corporations and Washington’s preferred industries. Every industry should play on the same, even playing field, not the rigged system of carve outs we have now. Additionally, the number of deductions — which allow businesses to lower their tax burden –should be significantly reduced.

If it’s broke, fix it

And on the individual level, we need a simpler, fairer, and flatter tax code free of loopholes. The average American spent 13 hours preparing their taxes last year — totaling more than 6 billion hours for all Americans. Navigating the tax code has become too complicated and time consuming. Instead, the tax code needs to be simplified so that high-powered corporate executives, who can hire expensive tax attorneys to lower their rates and find loopholes, don’t end up paying a lower percentage than a single mom working two jobs.

Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”

New Jerseyans have been frustrated by bureaucrats in Washington who continuously waste tax dollars. Comprehensive tax reform will force the government to be more efficient, effective, and accountable to the people. Americans deserve a tax system that provides equal opportunity and economic freedom for everyone, not just those who have power and influence in Washington