Brady voices budget bill concerns
Polk County Enterprise, April 2007
LIVINGSTON – U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady voiced concerns that the 2007-08 federal budget will force a tax hike on middle-class Texas families during a visit with a Livingston area family Thursday morning.
Brady told Marty and Tyletha Drake that the budget passed after the Democratic Party takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives will cause a $2,000 tax increase for the average family of four.
According to Brady, the budget allows tax relief measures instituted by President George W. Bush to expire.
“If passed, this Democratic budget, House Concurrent Resolution 99, will spend nearly $3 trillion next year alone and will impose the largest tax increase in American history,” Brady said.
The budget will bring back the marriage penalty, death tax, cuts the child tax credit in half and raises income capital gains and dividend tax rates,” Brady said.
Rep. Nick Lampson, D-Stafford, refutes Brady’s budget analysis. Lampson replaced disgraced former Congressman Tom DeLay and is currently recuperating from coronary bypass surgery he underwent March 25.
“ The current budget resolution, simply put, does not contain a single tax increase on American families,” said Bobby Zafarnia, a member of Lampson’s Washington staff.
The Democrats’ position on the federal budget has been independently verified by the
Concord Coalition, a national non-profit group solely dedicated to Federal fiscal responsibility, Zafarnia said.
Marty Drake said he’s not totally convinced by Brady’s comments on how the 2008 budget will impact his family’s tax bill.
“It sounded real good (Thursday), but it’s too early to judge,” Drake said. “It’s only been three weeks since the budget was passed. We’ll know more in six months. When the Democrats talk you get a whole different picture.”
Democrats say Section 401 of the 2008 budget resolution extends middle-class income tax cuts; including the child tax credit, marriage penalty relief, the 10 percent individual income tax bracket, estate tax reform, research and development tax credit and the deduction for state and local sales taxes beyond 2010, according to Zafarnia.
During Thursday’s visit, Brady asked the Drakes how a $2,000 tax increase would affect their family budget.
Drake said he and his wife believe travel provides educational opportunities for their children and visiting other parts of the U.S. like Colorado and Florida are important, but wouldn’t be affordable if such a tax increase becomes a reality.
“Family trips would be limited to area attractions,” Drake said.
Brady suggested that most Americans are not aware of how the new budget will affect them and citizens should contact their Congressman to voice their opinions.
Even a one-line e-mail or a phone call will give officials a better view of public opinion, Brady said.
“One of the reasons the Republican Party got fired from running Congress is that we drifted from a balanced budget and we didn’t tackle the tough reforms that will keep Social Security and Medicare solvent for many generations,” Brady said. “The first place Republicans can start is by preserving every dollar of Social Security for Social Security.”
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) sponsored legislation in the U.S. Senate that makes the state sales tax deduction permanent. The amendment was approved by the full Senate March 22.
Hutchison agreed with Brady’s assessment of the budget, however.
“American families face tax increases because the budget does not extend tax cuts on capital gains and dividends that have boosted investment and fails to provide permanent relief from the Alternative Minimum Tax which will hit 23 million taxpayers in 2007,” Hutchison said in a March 23 statement.
Lampson’s spokesman adds that the budget resolution protects middle-income taxpayers from the Alternative Minimum Tax that is set to kick in next year.
“Unless AMT is reformed, 19 million additional families will pay higher taxes. Nothing in the budget resolution changes the tax cuts already in place for the next four years either,” Zafarnia said.
The budget plan submitted by President Bush in February called for $2.9 trillion in federal spending, according to national news reports.
The Bush plan included spending a quarter of a trillion dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the next 20 months, but cut spending virtually everywhere else.
About 52 percent of the budget would go to mandatory programs authorized in previous budgets. That includes about $600 billion for Social Security; another $600 billion on Medicare and Medicaid.
Another $260 billion of the federal budget, about 8 percent, goes to pay back money the government borrowed to cover the deficit. That leaves 40 percent for “discretionary” spending. Of that portion, most goes to the Pentagon and other security programs.
“Congressman Lampson believes that fiscal discipline and wasteful spending are two major concerns that must be addressed, ones that Congress ignored wholesale for the past 12 years,” Zafarnia said. “Estimates total $300 billion per year as the amount of taxes that are already owed under current tax law but not collected. If that money was properly collected, it would avoid many funding shortfalls and tax concerns our government faces.”
Marty Drake said Thursday’s meeting was planned after he and his wife were contacted by the Polk County Republican Party and asked if they would be willing to host a visit with Brady on the tax implications of the new budget.
Drake is a Livingston police officer and Tyletha is a teacher and coach at Livingston High School.