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August 18, 2013

HOWEY: A bipartisan push toward U.S. tax reform

INDIANAPOLIS – The U.S. jobless rate is 7.4 percent. Here in Indiana, it stands at 8.4 percent.

This is so utterly unacceptable that our lawmakers at both levels ought to be considering everything in order to stimulate the economy. And they need to do it in a bipartisan fashion.

The impact of this is something right out of Pandora’s Box, as Indiana’s suicide rate is soaring and our infant mortality rate is 7.7 per 1,000 births, a statistic that left Indiana Health Commissioner William VanNess “aghast.” Thousands of Hoosier kids flirt with chronic hunger.

The U.S. tax code, with a 35 percent rate, is hindering the creation of jobs, said U.S. Rep. Todd Young, the Bloomington Republican who is seeking an overhaul. For many small businesses, the rate is 44.6 percent.

"Add in state income taxes and over half of their profits go to taxes," said Young, who sits on the tax-writing House Ways & Means Committee. Young is pushing a 25 percent tax rate, which is the average of industrialized nations and would allow the U.S. to better compete globally.

It brings House Republicans on to a similar page as President Obama. In a July 30 speech in Chattanooga, Obama called for a corporate tax rate cut to 28 percent and give manufacturers a preferred rate of 25 percent. He advocates a minimum tax on foreign earnings as a tool against corporate tax evasion and the use of tax havens. "If we don't make these investments and reforms, we might as well throw up the white flag while the rest of the world forges ahead in a global economy," Obama said. "And that does nothing to help the middle class."

The fact that House Ways & Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., and Senate Joint Committee on Taxation Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., are conducting a series of "Max and Dave" forums pushing a simpler, fairer, flatter tax code gives the movement cred.

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