Guest post by U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady
Tax reform is the legislative challenge of a generation for America. It hasn’t been accomplished since 1986, when President Reagan and Congress delivered the most sweeping overhaul of our nation’s tax code in American history. 2017 is the year to change that and make history of our own.
Working with President Trump, the House and Senate are moving forward now in crafting bold legislation that will reduce taxes for all Americans and grow jobs and paychecks nationwide. The week of September 25th, we will release a consensus document laying out a clear framework for bold, pro-growth tax reform that helps Americans of all walks of life. From there, Congress will move forward aggressively to get tax reform legislation to the President’s desk this year.
As chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee – the chief tax-writing body in Congress – I understand that true comprehensive tax reform is tremendously difficult. I’m confident that, with the help of the American people, we can and will make permanent, pro-growth tax reform a reality in 2017 – especially if we build upon the successful principles of the 1986 overhaul.
The Reagan tax reform delivered real fairness, closing loopholes for Washington special interests so that all Americans could keep more of their hard-earned paychecks. It focused on simplicity and certainty, streamlining the code so it was easier to file your taxes. Most of all, it focused on American competitiveness and economic growth. It delivered one of the most modern and pro-growth tax systems the world had ever seen so our businesses and workers could have the greatest possible opportunity to compete and win.
President Reagan put it best on the day he signed tax reform into law. “Fair and simpler for most Americans,” he said, “this is a tax code designed to take us into a future of technological invention and economic achievement, one that will keep America competitive and growing into the 21st century.”
Flash forward 31 years and you can’t even recognize the fundamental tenets that made the 1986 tax reform such a triumph for the American people.
Fairness has been replaced by favoritism for Washington special interests. Simplicity and certainty have been supplanted by complexity and incredible frustrations for the American people. American competitiveness has become a casualty of Washington’s inaction – and now the American people are watching good-paying jobs and U.S. manufacturing plants move overseas to countries with more competitive tax systems.
I don’t accept where our tax code stands today. American families and Main Street businesses don’t accept it either. And it’s time for us to come together as Americans and show the world that this nation will not accept it any longer.
For the first time in over three decades we have a President, a House, and a Senate who are all committed to overhauling this broken tax code and unleashing the growth of jobs and paychecks across the country. We are dedicated to delivering bold solutions for the American people, who President Reagan called “the only special interest that counts.”
Tax reform for the 21st century means rewarding hardworking families by closing unfair loopholes, lowering tax rates across the board, and simplifying the tax code dramatically. It demands reducing the tax burden on American businesses of all sizes so they can keep more of their income to invest in our communities. And, to unshackle productivity and wage growth in our nation, tax reform has to make America a magnet for innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic growth.
Lower rates alone will not be enough for tax reform that is truly transformational. We should also offer unprecedented capital expensing to all American job creators – allowing businesses to write off more of the cost of new equipment, machinery, software, and buildings needed to compete at a higher level. Additionally, it’s past time that America move to a modern, “territorial” tax system that allows our businesses to excel worldwide and invest their foreign profits in growing jobs and paychecks here at home.
As President Trump said during his recent tax reform address in North Dakota:
“We want our companies to hire and grow in America, to raise wages for American workers, and to help rebuild our American cities and towns. That is how we will all succeed and grow together – as one team, one people, and one American family.”
This is our challenge. Together – with President Trump, with leaders in the House and Senate, and with the American people – I’m confident we will rise to this challenge just as our nation has risen to and prevailed over so many great challenges.
2017 is our year to make history on tax reform. Working together, we will.