Hoyer: The Time for Tax Reform Is Now

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD), a leading proponent of tax reform and simplification in the House, released the following statement today in light of tomorrow’s deadline for filing federal income tax returns for 2004:

“The one thing that millions of Americans will not be saying today is, ‘Thank goodness, it’s Friday.’

“That’s because today – Friday, April 15 – is the annual deadline for filing federal income tax returns – a duty of citizenship that provokes anxiety, confusion and even anger in many taxpayers every year.

“Our tax code is a maze of complexity that confounds millions of Americans, treating many unfairly and creating an opportunity – some would say an incentive – for those who would exploit its complexity to avoid compliance.  Tax complexity and unfairness have a corrosive effect on our democracy.

“For years, Republicans proclaimed that they would reform and simplify the tax code.  But over the last four years, they have done the exact opposite, making our system more complicated and adding more than 10,000 pages to the tax code and regulations.

“At the same time, the Republican Party has shifted the tax burden to middle-income families and failed to address the unfair and burdensome Alternative Minimum Tax.  It is imperative that the AMT, which was enacted to ensure that the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share, be reformed.  This year, an estimated 3 million Americans will be subject to the AMT, paying on average $6,000 more in taxes than they would otherwise.  By 2010, nearly 35 million taxpayers will be subject to the AMT if we fail to act.

“The President’s appointment of the bipartisan Federal Tax Advisory Panel was an important step in the effort to reform and simplify our tax laws.  Democrats in Congress are committed to tax reform that makes our system fairer, simpler and more efficient.  I urge the President to personally engage on this issue, and demonstrate a willingness to expend political capital on it.  Without his leadership, tax reform and simplification will not happen.”