A major step toward a fair tax code

Published 12:34 pm Wednesday, December 30, 2015

By U.S. Rep. Robert Hurt

As I travel across Virginia’s Fifth District, I regularly hear how our nation’s outdated and complicated tax code is making life more difficult for the people I represent. It is far too complex, onerous and unfair, placing a tremendous burden on our families, farmers and Main Street businesses. 

Laden with special interest loopholes and characterized by high rates, our broken tax code discourages investment and hinders economic growth at a time when we still need more and better jobs in the Fifth District and across the country.

Email newsletter signup

Recently, the House, Senate, and president came together in a bipartisan way to address one problem with our tax policy — temporary tax provisions. For many years, both Republicans and Democrats have adopted time-limited tax policies; for example, a five-year tax credit. When the time period of that tax provision nears expiration, Congress rarely allows that tax provision to expire, nor does it make the provision permanent law. Instead, it would adopt a one or two-year extension, kicking the can down the road rather than making a difficult decision. 

This is a completely inefficient and unfair way to make tax law, creating significant uncertainty for both individuals and businesses. A family cannot reasonably be expected to budget for their tax bill for the year without knowing if they will be able to use a tax credit for which they used to qualify. Likewise, a small business cannot effectively plan to invest in new employees or capital projects if their taxes unexpectedly spike. We should seek to eliminate as much of this uncertainty from the tax code as possible so taxpayers know what to expect from year to year.

Both chambers recently passed the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act on a bipartisan basis. This pro-growth legislation, which the president signed into law, prevents dozens of potential tax hikes and even permanently extends certain tax policies that will not only ease the burden of taxes on middle class families and our small businesses, but also encourage economic investment and growth. 

We still must overhaul the tax code, both for individuals and corporations, to lower rates and root out the loopholes and wasteful tax provisions that only benefit special interests.

Robert Hurt represents Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward in the U.S. House of Representatives. His website is hurt.house.gov and his Farmville office number is (434) 395-0120.