Hoyer: Republicans Have Only Made the Tax Code More Complex and Unfair

Democratic Whip Says Republican Rhetoric Fails to Match the Reality

For Immediate Release:

July 21, 2004

Contact:Stacey Farnen
202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement regarding House Republicans’ “Tax Reform and Simplification Week,” the highlight of which was consideration of two non-controversial, minor tax bills today that will do little to reduce the incredible complexity of America’s tax system.  Last week, Congressman Hoyer delivered a speech at the Urban Institute in Washington calling for real tax reform and simplification.  That speech is available on his website www.democraticwhip.gov:

 “How the Republican leadership can, with a straight face, claim that they are reforming and simplifying the tax code with these two bills is beyond me.  The truth is, Republicans have talked non-stop for more than a decade about the need for tax reform, and then they went right ahead and enacted legislation that has made our code far more complicated and unfair.

 “Our tax code today is a maze of complexity that confounds millions of Americans every year.  But since 2001, Republicans have created more complexity, enacting more than 200 changes to the tax code.

 “The corporate tax bill (FSC/ETI) that passed the House in June has been described as ‘a grab-bag of special interest provisions designed to reward the well-connected at everyone else’s expense,’ and it would make another 109 changes in the tax code.

 “Meanwhile, with 17 percent of Americans saying it is ‘acceptable’ to cheat on their taxes – which forces everyone else to pay more – the IRS is performing fewer and fewer audits.  And to add insult to injury, Republican leaders have refused to give the IRS the resources it needs to enforce compliance.

 “Rather than pay lip service to tax reform, we should tackle these issues in a bipartisan way.  We need to reduce the complexity and unfairness of our tax laws and ensure all taxpayers pay their fair share.”