In 1986, Americans flocked to theaters to see the year’s number one movie, “Top Gun.” A lot has changed since Maverick and Ice Man prepared to do battle with Soviet MiGs, as Kenny Loggins’ Danger Zone blared in the background. However, one thing that hasn’t changed for the better in 31 years is the federal tax code.
The visionary, competitive tax code President Reagan signed into law in 1986 has become a cumbersome, complex, and outdated relic. Well, 2017 is the year we work to change that.
This fall, Congress is making pro-growth tax reform our top priority. This week we introduced a tax reform agenda that is vitally important to growing our economy and empowering both working families and job creators alike.
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The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is focused on empowering middle-class working families by delivering more jobs, fairer taxes, and bigger take-home pay. The plan reduces taxes for lower-to-middle incomes and ensures a greater share of your money stays in your pocket where it belongs. It increases the standard deduction for individuals to $12,000, protecting roughly double the amount from taxation. It preserves the Earned Income Tax Credit while expanding the Child Tax Credit to help with the costs of raising a family. And it will ensure you can continue preparing for retirement by retaining tax treatment of popular programs such as 401(k)s and Individual Retirement Accounts.
Loopholes and complexities have made it difficult for folks to get by, let alone get ahead. That’s why the tax plan eliminates many itemized deductions primarily used by the wealthy, but retains tax incentives for home mortgage interest, tax incentives for work, higher education, and retirement security. It also continues the deduction for charitable contributions so people can donate to their local church, charity, or community organization.
Small businesses are the backbone of Southern Illinois’ economy. But the exemptions, exclusions, deductions, and credits in our code make Swiss cheese of our tax system and put our nation’s small-to-medium businesses at a disadvantage. That’s why we lower the maximum tax rate for small, family-owned businesses to 25% to encourage entrepreneurs to innovate and Main Street job creators to expand.
The numbers can be dry, but our vision for tax reform is straightforward. We are going for growth, simplicity, and fairness. We want America to be a magnet for job creation in an ever more competitive global marketplace. We want bold reforms that will increase paychecks, grow local businesses, and expand our economy. And we want a tax code so simple you can file your taxes on a post card.
Simply stated, we want the tax code to work for you — not the other way around.
Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, represents Illinois’ 12th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. You can reach him by writing to Mike Bost, 1440 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515. His O’Fallon office is at 302 W. State St.