US Senator Mike Rounds’ Weekly Column: Providing South Dakota Families with Tax Relief a Priority

Providing South Dakota Families with Tax Relief a Priority
By U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.)

Over the past few months, we’ve seen the U.S. economy improve. In July, employers added 209,000 jobs, bringing the unemployment rate down to 4.3 percent. However, wages remain stagnant and economic growth has hovered at 2 percent for the past 10 years, a full percentage point lower than the historic post-World War II average. According to the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), this has cost families an average of $8,600 in income annually. Also according to the JEC, economic growth will remain at 2 percent under our current policies.

This underscores the need for a pro-growth tax policy that creates jobs, increases our competitiveness overseas and gives our economy a much-needed jolt. Our current tax code is far too complicated – it is more than 74,000 pages in length and takes Americans 8.1 billion hours annually to complete. I support the ongoing efforts by the tax-writing committees in Congress to take on comprehensive tax reform. When we return to Washington in September, we expect to ramp up these efforts. I look forward to working with my colleagues to lower the rates for South Dakota families, rein in the IRS and provide long-term certainty in our tax code.

It has been more than 30 years since our tax code was reformed. Since then, other countries have lowered their rates and become more competitive, while our tax code has barely changed. The average corporate tax rate in the U.S. is 39 percent, compared to an average of 25 percent by our foreign competitors. It is time to reform the tax code and lower the rates – a plan that we know will help our economy because we’ve seen it work in the past.

During both the Kennedy and Reagan presidencies, we saw a reduction in regulations and taxes. In turn, the economy prospered and flourished under their respective administrations. They knew that individual citizens know the best way to spend their own money, and they certainly don’t need Washington telling them what to do with it.

While I continue to advocate for comprehensive tax reform, I recognize the complexity in passing comprehensive tax reform. Earlier this year, I introduced a tax relief plan that would reduce the average South Dakota family’s tax burden by about 16 percent. My plan calls for a simple 2 point rate cut across-the-board for each tax bracket. By lowering the tax rate for all, we will be able to provide direct and immediate relief to hardworking families and shake up our economy. This will result in a more prosperous economy for all Americans.

We have our work cut out for us in the coming months, and I am ready to work with every senator, on either side of the aisle, to get it done. When Americans are free to spend their money as they see fit—whether that’s sending kids to college, buying a new home, saving for retirement or starting a new business—our economy will benefit. And when our economy is healthy, every American will feel the positive effects.

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