HOYER STATEMENT ON THE ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX AND FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY

Democrats Again Offer Better Bill that is Fiscally Responsible and Provides More Tax Relief

For Immediate Release:

May 5, 2004

Contact:Stacey Farnen
202-225-3130

WASHINGTON DC – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) made the following statement today regarding the Alternative Minimum Tax and fiscal responsibility on the House Floor (as prepared for delivery):

“Mr. Speaker, this debate on the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) epitomizes precisely what is wrong in this House today – the Republican Leadership’s refusal to seize bipartisan opportunities where they exist and its desire to turn every tax bill into a divisive, political bludgeon.

“Let’s be honest: every member of this body – every single one – recognizes that we must fix the AMT.  When the AMT was enacted in 1969, it was supposed to ensure that wealthy taxpayers paid their fair share.  But because it was not indexed for inflation, the AMT today ensnares more and more middle-income taxpayers, forcing them to pay more than they would under the regular tax schedule.

“But rather than trying to find a bipartisan solution to this growing problem, the majority has offered the legislative equivalent of a Band-Aid that would only drive us further into debt.

“Make no mistake: the Democratic substitute is vastly superior.  Where the Republican bill would extend current AMT exemptions for taxpayers whose adjusted gross income is less than $40,250 ($58,000 for married couples), the Democratic substitute would eliminate AMT liability for taxpayers whose income is less that $125,000 ($250,000 for married couples).  Where not one nickel of the costs of the Republican bill is paid for – approximately $18 billion – all the costs of the Democratic substitute would be offset by restricting tax shelters.

“The fact is, the Democratic substitute provides simpler and broader relief.  It’s fiscally responsible, and it provides the framework for total reform of the AMT.

“It’s ironic, Mr. Speaker, that this Republican majority, which talks about tax fairness and simplification, has only made our tax code more complicated.  Let’s not perpetuate tax confusion and complexity.  I urge my colleagues to support this Democratic substitute.”

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