St. Charles Herald-Guide

Simplify the tax code and make EVERYBODY happy

By David Vitter - May 2, 2007

Tax day is always one of the most dreaded days of the year. And because of the increasing complexity of the current tax system, many of us find ourselves having to pay more of our hard-earned money just to comply with the multitude of rules dealing with deductions, exemptions and frustrating regulations.

Each April, I grow more frustrated with our current complicated tax code.

In the IRSís own estimation, the average time burden for all taxpayers filling out their tax forms is 30 hours, and more than six in 10 Americans choose to hire someone to help prepare their returns every year.

That means you have to devote your valuable time and often money to pay the already over-burdensome taxes to the federal government.

For the 2005 tax season, businesses and non-profit organizations spent an estimated 6.4 billion hours complying with the federal income tax code, with an estimated cost of more than $265.1 billion.

This amounts to imposing a 22-cent compliance surcharge for every dollar the income tax system collects. These extra taxes for business often affect their prices causing a direct hit on our pocket.

In addition, bureaucratic filing and compliance costs put enormous pressure on our small businesses. The amount of paper and time involved in following the countless regulations take up valuable resources and energy that should be put toward making the business more successful. Small businesses power both Louisianaís and the nation's economy and create jobs, yet high tax burdens and the complexity of the tax code produce enormous problems.

According to the Presidentís Panel on Tax Reform, there have been more than 14,000 changes to our tax code since 1985 – the last time it saw major reform. Many of these changes included special provisions and targeted tax benefits for students, parents and families – some of which expire after only a few years. Both small businesses and Louisiana families have benefited from these tax cuts and would continue to benefit if these cuts became permanent.

I believe that our tax code is entirely too complicated and created in a way that allows some people to game the situation. Thatís not fair and neither is this current tax structure.

I have always been a strong advocate of sweeping tax reform to provide a simpler, fairer tax system.

Clearly the federal government spends too much. And it is critically important for Congress and the president to be more fiscally responsible with our money.

Each year we pay a portion of our hard-earned wages and we expect the money to be spent wisely.

Pork barrel spending and other frivolous projects paid for by federal dollars only heighten our sensitivity about shouldering the tax burden.

We deserve a simpler, fairer tax structure and a government that is more frugal with our tax dollars, and Iíll keep working in the U.S. Senate to lower the tax burden on Louisiana families.

What do YOU think?

Sen. Vitter says: ďI am interested in hearing your thoughts on tax reform. Please contact me with your ideas at any of my state offices or at my Washington office by mail at U.S. Senator David Vitter, U.S. Senate, 516 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510, or by phone at 202-224-4623. You can also reach me on the web at http://vitter.senate.gov.