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“New Taxpayers, Not New Taxes”

Jul 8, 2011 | Blog

There is broad consensus in Washington that a “balanced approach” between spending cuts, controls, and increased revenue is the only possible way to reduce our $14.3 trillion national debt and avert a Greek-style debt crisis. I share this perspective.

As the ongoing debt negotiations advance, members of Congress should evaluate the components of a debt package through one question: Will this make it harder or easier for the American people to create jobs? For my part, I have never met a job creator in Florida that has told me they are waiting for Congress to pass another tax hike before they start growing their business.

Unfortunately, there are indications some are willing to accept that higher revenues in a debt package should come from a $1 trillion tax hike, even at a time when the unemployment rate is 9.2 percent and 25 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. I vehemently disagree with this approach and will oppose a net tax increase on the economy that makes its way into a debt reduction deal.

To be clear, new revenues are an essential component of any viable debt reduction deal. We can’t simply cut our way out of this debt; we also need to grow our way out of it. The best way to do this is by increasing the number of taxpayers gainfully employed in our economy and by easing burdensome regulations, not by raising taxes.

We can generate lasting economic growth and trillions in new revenues for the federal government through pro-growth tax reform. Sen. Pat Toomey has a budget proposal that lowers top marginal tax rates to 25 percent in a revenue-neutral way and eliminates loopholes and deductions, resulting in $1.5 trillion of additional real growth over the next decade and millions of new private-sector jobs, according to the Heritage Foundation. His budget recognizes that tax cuts and an overhaul of our 70,000 page tax code will create jobs and generate trillions in new revenue.

Net tax increases are poor economic policy. Will raising taxes on manufacturers make it easier for them to hire new workers? Will raising taxes on American energy companies make it easier to create jobs? Will raising taxes on the businesses that Democrats refer to as “millionaires and billionaires” allow those businesses to expand? Across the board, the answer is “no.” Instead, these tax increases will kill jobs in every district, state, and industry in the country. Regardless of the rhetoric coming from Washington politicians, these taxes will also have a mathematically insignificant effect on deficit reduction.

I proudly support a “balanced approach” in the context of debt reduction that grows the economy and boosts tax revenues in the process. But when presented with the option of choking our weak economy with yet another net tax increase, I will oppose it. Our country needs new taxpayers, not new taxes.

You can also read this op-ed here.