I support efforts to reform our tax code in order to make it easier for every American to understand and comply with the law, and that means we need to focus on three key principles as we work to reform the tax code:
(1) The tax code needs to be simpler, fairer, and flatter. It should not be difficult to complete your tax returns and we should not punish success achieved through hard work and innovation.
(2) The tax code should support our national economy, helping to create jobs and growth while expanding opportunity for all Americans. Our goal is to make the United States the best place in the world to hire and invest.
(3) The IRS needs to put taxpayers first with quality customer service and modern information systems.
I was proud to join with my colleagues in the 115th Congress to achieve these goals and make sweeping tax reform a reality. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, signed into law in December 2017, marked the first tax code overhaul in more than 30 years. It reduced tax rates for individuals and businesses alike, allowing the average American to keep more of their hard-earned money and companies to hire more workers. This pro-growth tax plan will lead to higher wages, more jobs, and an increase of our nation’s gross domestic product. The success of this overhaul is already showing across both the country and Commonwealth.
While I served as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee from 2011 to 2016, our committee worked hard to restore accountability at the IRS. We streamlined its operations, encouraged the agency to do more with less, and protected taxpayers from wasteful or inappropriate behavior. All the while, we increased funding in certain areas to improve customer service, resulting in faster response time, better fraud detection, and stronger cybersecurity.
In addition to my work on the Appropriations Committee, I have strongly supported legislative efforts to reduce the tax burden on hardworking men and women. In my time in Congress, I have been proud to support legislation that provides much-needed tax relief to small business and working families, increases in the child tax credit, and reduces the marriage penalty and tax rates on dividends and capital gains. I have also backed legislation to expand small business expensing and depreciation rules and will continue to work to maintain these important measures.
I am a long-time proponent of legislation that seeks to permanently end the “estate tax,” also commonly known as the death tax. The loss of a loved one is hard enough to face without the threat of the federal government claiming much of what a parent or spouse spent a lifetime building – whether that is a family home, savings account, farm, or small business. I was pleased the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doubled the death tax exemption to provide relief to grieving families. This will continue to be a priority as Congress considers legislation related to tax reform.
In conjunction with lowering the tax burden on American families and businesses, I have also worked to ensure the federal government lives within its means by reining in out-of-control government spending. Families have learned to spend less, be responsible and live within their budgets – and now it’s time for the federal government to do the same. During my tenure as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Congress worked to cut over $126 billion from the federal budget because Kentuckians deserve the decency of accountability and oversight when their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent.
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