Each year, families across Virginia set a household budget. Businesses in the Commonwealth, both large and small, do the same. This week, the House of Representatives acted on a budget plan for Fiscal Year 2015, which begins on October 1, 2014. In addition to laying out a blueprint for federal spending, the budget process is also an opportunity to strengthen programs like Medicare and Social Security and expand pro-growth economic reforms like tax reform, domestic energy production, and regulatory reform.
As I have done in the past, I cast my vote for the tightest, most fiscally responsible budget brought before the House. Unlike the President’s budget, which would never balance, this plan would balance in just four years. As the national debt ticks upward each day, this budget plan is a reminder that if more lawmakers were willing to make the tough decisions, we could put our fiscal house back in order much sooner.
This budget also encouraged the House to approve H.R. 352, the Tax Code Termination Act, which I introduced early in this Congress. This legislation abolishes the tax code by December 31, 2017, and requires Congress to enact a simpler, fairer federal tax system by July of the same year. I was pleased that this provision was included as part of a pro-growth tax reform solution. Support for the Tax Code Termination Act also continues to grow in the House, with 117 bipartisan cosponsors representing congressional districts across the country. The National Taxpayer’s Union has also endorsed the bill, saying it will “provide the impetus necessary to create a simpler, fairer, and pro-growth tax code.”
Regardless of party affiliation, there is widespread agreement that the tax code is badly broken. In the Commonwealth, we will reach “Tax Freedom Day,” which is the day Americans have finally earned enough to pay the nation’s tax bill, on April 24th. This year, Virginia taxpayers will have to work nearly four months to meet these obligations at federal, state, and local levels. Additionally, anyone who has filed a tax return, or is rushing to the post office this week to file their taxes, knows that the tax system is overly complex. Congress must simplify the tax code to generate both economic growth and jobs here in the United States and increase our competitiveness in the global economy. Congress can encourage more investments and growth if tax reform that reflects the desire of Americans to be in charge of their own hard-earned money is part of our budget.
We know the status quo does not work anymore. The federal government cannot continue spending beyond its means, or force Americans to navigate a tax code that works against them. I will continue to support fiscally responsible policies that strive to reform the tax code and curb federal spending. Instead of more of the same, it’s time to change the course and act to create new opportunities to spur economic growth.
Bob Goodlatte represents the Sixth District in Congress.