By Alex Zank
Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) today revealed details of his plan to reform the tax code, focusing largely on restoring balance to what he sees as unfair taxation on families.
“If there’s any single group in America whose equal opportunity to pursue happiness we should make sure to protect, it is our ultimate entrepreneurial and investment class: America’s moms and dads,” Lee said in remarks at the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute. An overarching theme in Lee’s speech: restoring individual opportunity.
Lee spoke about what he described as the “parent tax penalty.” When paying into federal retirement programs such as Social Security and Medicare, Lee said, parents end up contributing twice: paying into the programs while also paying for expenses of their children, who are also future payers into the programs. “This is the inequity that my bill is designed to highlight and address,” Lee said.
Lee said his bill, called the Family Fairness and Opportunity Tax Reform Act, would establish two individual income tax brackets: 15 percent for earners of up to $87,850 a year (twice that for married couples) and 35 percent for those earning over that amount.
The bill would also, according to Lee, eliminate most existing deductions and credits and create a $2,000 personal credit to replace the personal exemption and standard deduction. The centerpiece of the bill, Lee said, is a $2,500 per-child tax credit, an increase of at least $1,500 per child compared to what the current Child Tax Credit offers.
Lee said his proposal is only a start of reforming the tax code; the bill deals only with individual income taxes.
“This plan is a new idea, but I think it’s one that deserves a seat at the table as Congress considers tax reform and as the Republican party considers its future,” said Lee, a former Howrey partner and U.S. Supreme Court law clerk. “The great challenge that is America’s opportunity crisis ought to be the Republican party’s opportunity to remember and once again become what it has always been at its best.”
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