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WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD), a leading proponent of tax reform in the House of Representatives, released the following statement this morning, as the Members of the President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform met to discuss tax reform proposals:
“The Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform is comprised of distinguished experts on tax policy from both sides of the aisle, and I am pleased that they are moving forward in presenting recommendations to the President. However, I frankly am disappointed that the Administration appears to be going through the motions on this important issue, and has refused to spend virtually any political capital on it.
“The President must lead on tax reform, not simply pay lip service to this issue.
“Our tax code is a maze of complexity that confounds millions of taxpayers. And, to maintain public confidence in our system, it is imperative that we simplify our tax laws and make them fairer.
“Specifically, we must reform the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), which was enacted to ensure that high-income Americans pay their fair share. Today, the AMT increasingly ensnares middle-income taxpayers because this parallel tax system was not indexed for inflation.
“We must consider overhauling the corporate income tax, and focus on eliminating tax breaks that encourage American companies to move jobs overseas rather than create jobs here at home. We need to simplify tax rules for small businesses. And, we must streamline tax incentives for education and retirement savings to make it easier for the average taxpayer to take advantage of them.
“These are just some of the issues that the Advisory Panel must address. But we know from experience that this issue will go nowhere without concerted presidential leadership and a willingness by President Bush to expend political capital on it. To date, he has failed to do that. In the days ahead, I urge him to focus more attention on this critical issue.”