Weekly Columns

Anxiety. Frustration. Anger. These are just a few of the emotions that Americans feel when it comes time to prepare their taxes.

It is easy to understand why. The federal tax code is extremely complex and, instead of becoming easier to navigate, it has only become more cumbersome, growing nearly three times its length since 1984.    

At a time when half of the country is living paycheck to paycheck, Congress can provide relief and help middle-class families get ahead by reforming the bloated and out-of-control tax code. 

As I visit with Arkansans about tax reform, I consistently hear they want a tax code that is fair and simple. With over 70,000 pages in our current tax code, they currently deal with the exact opposite of that. It is ridiculously complicated. 

The current tax code makes it difficult for hardworking Americans to get ahead in today’s economy and to save for the future. After years of stagnant wages, half of all Americans have nothing put away for retirement and a majority do not have the ability to financially address an emergency. 

Simplifying the system will allow Americans to keep more of their hard-earned income, better provide for their families and save and invest more effectively for the future. That is why it is encouraging that President Trump has made tax reform a key priority for his administration and quickly brought Congress to the table to devise a path forward to provide tax relief for all Americans. 

My colleagues and I are optimistic that the tax reform framework released this month will allow all Americans to keep more of their hard-earned dollars in their pockets, rather than Uncle Sam’s. The framework establishes lower, simpler rates, doubles the standard deduction and enhances and maintains a number of tax credits that allow Americans to keep more of their paychecks. 

Not only will tax reform deliver relief for every American, it will also help grow our economy. At 39 percent, our corporate tax rate is one of the highest in the developed world. This discourages owners of all size businesses from reinvesting their profits here at home and puts us at a competitive disadvantage with the rest of the world.

The federal government cannot create jobs, but it can implement policies that contribute to the atmosphere that job creators look to when deciding whether to expand and invest. One of the most significant factors that affects these decisions is the tax code. Reforming our outdated tax code can stimulate economic growth and lead to job creation and higher wages. This framework provides for the lowest tax rates in modern history for American businesses of all sizes which will help create jobs and increase wages. 

The antiquated tax code needs to be overhauled to foster economic growth and help hardworking Arkansans succeed. Making serious changes to the tax code can help increase economic activity, address our national debt and create jobs. Major reform to tax-related statutes has not occurred since 1986. It is long overdue for Congress to come together in a bipartisan effort to reform the tax code in a way that provides relief to the middle class and grows the economy.