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Congressman Gus Bilirakis

Representing the 12th District of Florida

Tax Season

April 17, 2014
Bilirakis Blog

April contains both the day by which most Americans must file their federal income taxes, as well as Tax Freedom Day – the point in the year when the average American has finally earned enough just to pay off his or her annual tax bill.  This time of the year reminds us that again and again, Washington has proven that it is unable and unwilling to act responsibly when it comes to the stewardship of American tax dollars.

Our country’s current fiscal policies are unsustainable.  In recent years, government programs such as stimulus plans and corporate bailouts have caused deficits to skyrocket, adding to the nation’s towering mountain of debt.  The lack of fiscal discipline and the rising costs of the federal debt have created a dangerous combination that necessitates action to prevent Washington from dipping into a bottomless cookie jar:   your wallets and pocketbooks. 

Currently, our national debt stands at more than $17.5 trillion.  (To write that out, put ELEVEN zeroes after the five.)  The average citizen’s share of this debt is over $55,000!  It is clear that the federal government has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.  Last fiscal year, the federal government took in $2.77 trillion, more than any other year.  More than $1.3 trillion of that came from hardworking Americans’ paychecks through individual income taxes.  And yet, the federal government still managed to spend $680 billion more than it took in. 

Like many of my constituents, I find this astounding and unacceptable.  I believe that we must restrain the unchecked growth in federal spending and force the American government to live within its means, just as families and local businesses must do.  Simply put, the growing national debt (and the need to collect more and more taxes to pay for it) reduces opportunities for future generations. 

To grow the economy, Washington should pursue policies that keep taxes low, broaden the base, and ensure stability for American workers and businesses.  I have supported measures that provide relief for middle-class families from the Alternative Minimum Tax; that recognize that it’s your money and not Washington’s and treat every person equally, such as the Fair tax; and allow you to pass more of your hard-earned income along to your children and families at the end of life by easing the death tax.

As the father of four sons, I believe that Washington’s tax and spend policies are all about economic certainty and prosperity.  Small businesses, job creators, and seniors are hurt by the higher taxes that fund our country’s spending addiction.  Entrepreneurs, local businesses, and hard-working Americans cannot function optimally and efficiently in an uncertain business climate, with the threat of higher interest rates or taxes looming overhead, which is why it is so important that the federal government tackle the problem of runaway spending and debt.  You may be certain that I am dedicated to restoring our country’s fiscal accountability and will continue to fight so that you may keep more of your hard earned dollars for you and your family.