The U.S. economy grew a meager 1% from April-July 2011 as a result of weak consumer spending and stalled exports, highlighting the sluggishness of the recovery. This growth rate needs to be twice the amount or higher to create jobs and generate economic growth for full revitalization to occur. While there are many barriers which must be addressed to get our economy moving again, comprehensive tax reform is one of the most important. An overhaul of our current tax system will produce tangible benefits for Nebraska families, workers, and businesses.
Our current tax code is costly, confusing, and complicated. Additionally, our onerous, excessive system is a symptom of the out-of-control spending addiction which has dominated Washington. It is time for a system which is fairer, simpler, and removes barriers to job creation. As history has shown, tax reforms help spur our economy by actually increasing revenue while reducing rates and broadening the base since these policies put taxpayers first - not the government. My work on the Committee on Ways and Means, which has jurisdiction over the House's constitutional mandate to handle any legislation dealing with taxes, allows me to be fully engaged as we work to articulate a vision for comprehensive, fundamental tax reform.
Since the beginning of the 112th Congress, the Committee on Ways and Means has embarked upon an active agenda in pursuit of comprehensive tax reform. In just more than six months, the Committee has acted on 10 pieces of legislation dealing with taxes, including the repeal of the 1099 filing requirement which was part of the new health care law. Additionally, we have held 10 hearings focused on transforming our current tax code from one which impedes job creation to one which promotes it.
The temptation remains to think Congress cannot pass significant tax reform. While the process will not be easy, now is not the time to think small and shy away from tackling America's biggest problems. Democrats and Republicans may not agree on everything, but both parties agree our tax code needs fixed. Much like President Reagan and a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate worked with a Democratic House to reform our tax system in 1986, President Obama and Senate Democrats can team up with a Republican House to do it now. The 1986 reform package provides a model for bipartisan tax reform which created millions of good-paying jobs.
As the tax reform debate continues, one thing remains abundantly clear - any call to raise taxes must be rejected. Excessive regulations, overwhelming national debt, and out-of-control government spending already are enough disincentives for businesses to invest and grow. Increasing taxes only would deepen those hindrances to job growth. I look forward to continue working with my colleagues, particularly on the Ways and Means Committee, to achieve tax reform which will provide relief for taxpayers, shrink the size of government, and get our economy moving again.
For more information about tax reform issues, the latest developments in Congress, or to sign up for my e-mail newsletter, please visit my website at http://adriansmith.house.gov.