Birthdays are magical events that not only bring about celebrations with family and friends, but they also offer a time of reflection on the past year.
This time of reflection is often amplified on milestone birthdays even more so. In just a few short weeks, I will celebrate a milestone birthday, and as I reflect upon my life, I’ve realized that the American tax system has not undergone true reform during my lifetime.
It is time to modernize our outdated tax system for the citizens of the Peach State and the United States.
When passed in 1986, our current tax code disrupted markets around the world and yielded positive results for the U.S. economy. However, just as time ages the body, slowing the speed of reaction and recovery, time, too, has aged our tax code.
What was once a nimble, aggressive tax structure has since transformed into a metaphorical middle-ager who needs a tube of icy-hot to get through a church league softball game. Along with being incredibly time-consuming and cumbersome for everyday Americans to understand, our nation’s current tax code deprives law-abiding American taxpayers of an even economic playing field.
As the vice chairman of Georgia’s chief tax policy committee, I often hear stories of middle-class Georgians who struggle to keep their businesses afloat under America’s outdated tax system. Behind these businesses are hardworking, entrepreneurial individuals, many of whom are veterans and single mothers who deserve better.
In an ever-growing international economy, our Georgia businesses compete not only with businesses in neighboring states, but with businesses across the globe. Unfortunately for Georgia-grown companies, America’s corporate tax rate, at 35 percent, is the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world.
On top of having a corporate tax rate well above those of our fellow G7 nations, our tax code is one of the most complicated tax systems on the international stage. Hours of American productivity are lost each year as taxpayers struggle to untangle the United States’ convoluted tax code.
American taxpayers should not be forced to sacrifice their precious time and resources to satisfy Uncle Sam’s tax liability.
Fortunately for Americans, a Republican-led Congress and Republican president offer a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform our outdated tax code. I am hopeful our leaders in Congress and the White House will work through the minor differences between their respective plans and deliver solutions for American taxpayers.
As a Republican, I feel our party cannot afford to miss the opportunity to bring about meaningful, substantial tax reform. The entire nation is diligently watching our party to see if we can make good on one of our central campaign promises. If we allow the media talking heads to correctly predict that the Republican Party cannot reconcile our differences and govern effectively, I fear the GOP will not retain control of power in Washington.
Despite the Republican Party’s differing tax plans, Democratic Party bosses lose sleep at night worrying about the impact successful Republican-led tax reform will have on the electorate. Ending the nightmare that is the current American tax code would unleash the true potential of the American economy, and allow small businesses to grow and thrive in a way that would help erase our national debt and bring millions of Americans out of poverty.
Reform that allows hardworking individuals to keep their hard-earned dollars in their own pockets would certainly yield rewards for Republicans at the ballot box.
Americans have waited far too long for a new tax code. I, for one, have been waiting my whole life. As I blow out the candles on my birthday cake this year, I hope I will no longer need to wish for a tax code that works for Georgians and Americans.
Georgia State Rep. Trey Kelley, R- Cedartown, represents the citizens of District 16, which includes portions of Bartow, Haralson, and Polk counties. He was elected into the House of Representatives in 2012, and currently serves as vice chair of the Ways and Means Committee and secretary of the Judiciary and Higher Education committees. He also serves on the Energy, Utilities, and Telecommunications, Health &Human Services and Code Revision committees.