Calling our tax system "too complex," Congressman Leonard Lance, R-7, and local officials visited the the day before Tax Day to oppose new taxes proposed by President Barack Obama and to urge tax reform.
Standing on Miln Street in downtown Cranford on an unseasonably warm day, Lance greeted residents as they entered the post office, many of them carrying envelopes addressed to the IRS. With fewer than 24 hours to go before the official April 17 filing deadline for tax returns, the congressman critized Obama's proposed budget, which calls for "new taxes on earnings, dividends and savings for many New Jersey family households and small businesses. Lance said the president's plan includes the "Buffet Rule," which the Obama himself allegedly called a "gimmick" that would raise approximately $5 billion a year, or enough to pay one week's interest on the national debt.
According to Lance, Americans spend billions of dollars each years trying to do their taxes.
"Our current system is too complex, too costly and too burdensome," Lance said. "To comply with this inefficient tax code, individuals, families and employers spend more than six billion hours and more than $160 billion per year trying to do their taxes. The U.S. House (of Representatives) has passed a reform plan that calls for a simpler, flatter and fairer tax system that will restore economy opportunity and prosperity to our nation's economy."
Earlier this month, the House of Representatives approved a 2013 budget blueprint which includes tax reform proposals. The blueprint promotes saving by eliminating taxes on interest, capital gains, and dividends and also eliminates the death tax. Also, under the House-passed budget U.S. corporate rates would be reduced from 35 percent – currently the highest in the world – to 25 percent while nearly eliminating taxes on American corporations' earnings from overseas operations, making U.S. businesses and workers more competitive and encouraging reinvestment and economic growth right here at home.
Garwood Mayor Patricia Quattrocchi, who also attended the press conference, said the issues Lance has been speaking of are of the "utmost importance."
"Taxing small businesses pulls jobs our from local folks right here in Nw Jersey," Quattrocchi said.
Garwood managed to construct a municipal budget that stays below the 2 percent cap. Quattrocchi said there have been a few increases and officials are still working to negotiate contracts with the police union and will soon begin negotiating with the public works employees.
Mountainside Councilman Glenn Mortimer said that Mountainside has a reputation for "being a low tax town." He said he is hoping the budget proposal will help keep taxes low. Mountainside also stayed below the 2 percent budget cap, and no layoffs are expected.
Lance said that all of the "Bush tax cuts" that had been in effect since his administration are set to expire this year. The congressman and other local officials are lobbying for an extension of these reductions.
"The taxation system is a disaster, and at the end of the year, all of the Bush tax cuts will expire," said Jim Coyle, president of the Gateway Regional Chamber of Commerce, who also attended the Monday morning press conference in Cranford. "The economy is way too weak to have that kind of tax burden on it."
Lance, further criticizing Obama's budget plan, said that instead of "an election year gimmick that won't help the economy," lawmakers should be focusing on tax reform that promotes savings and investments to help bring about economic growth. Lace is running for re-election in the 7th Legislative District. He was elected to his congressional seat in 2009.
"In an environment with trillion-dollar deficits and 8-plus-percent unemplyment," Lance said, "growth is more important than ever.