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October 01, 2017

Inhofe in the Oklahoman: Time for tax reform

The Oklahoman

The United States last passed comprehensive tax reform in 1986 — a time before cell phones or the personal computer. Our world has modernized in the past 30 years. It is time our tax code modernized to reflect our growth and successes as a nation, but also to remain competitive in a changing world. Tax reform will restart the engine of the “Made in America” economy, improving our competitiveness overseas and keeping skilled jobs here at home.

Delivering on a tax reform plan will strengthen Oklahoma's economy and bring greater prosperity to this generation — as well as for our children and grandchildren.

As President Trump announced last week, our shared principles are clear. We need to provide tax relief for all and simplify a process that has spiraled out of control. Reforming the tax code to put families first will make it clear that Washington works for the American people — not the other way around.

First, we're going to make the tax code work for American families again. I have heard from many across Oklahoma about how too much of their paychecks go to pay taxes, and the existing deduction system doesn't reflect where they actually need to make investments for their families. Our plan will dramatically reduce taxes for hardworking families, letting individuals keep more of their hard-earned dollars.

Second, the tax code must be simplified. During the past 30 years, the modern tax code has doubled. As the code becomes more complicated and cumbersome, Americans must spend countless hours working to complete their taxes each year. For small businesses, the cost of tax preparation with our outdated and convoluted tax code is astronomical, forcing business owners to focus resources on compliance rather than on how to create jobs.

Third, I am committed to protecting Oklahoma's economy. We cannot allow any tax plan that unfairly targets oil and gas production that has opened doors of economic opportunity, created well-paying jobs and powered the country. Our competitive tax rate has made Oklahoma cities the best place in the nation to start a business according to CNBC.

My priorities are shared by President Trump and leadership in the House and Senate. The unified framework for a pro-family tax reform plan includes the following principles:

• Providing middle-income tax relief by reducing the number of tax brackets, doubling the standard tax deduction and increasing the child tax credit while protecting deductions for home mortgage interest and charitable giving.

• Lowering taxes on businesses to 20 percent, and to 25 percent for small or family owned businesses. We also will repeal the "death tax," supporting our family owned businesses, and promote growth by allowing a full expensing of capital investments for five years.

• Making America competitive in the international community by establishing a territorial tax system and allowing repatriation of investments.

After the last comprehensive tax reform legislation in 1986, we saw how a fair and simple tax reform plan was able to jumpstart the economy — growing businesses, increasing wages and expanding opportunity for all. After enduring a sluggish economy for the past eight years, it is time to enact reforms that get America's engine turning again.

Inhofe, R-Tulsa, is Oklahoma's senior U.S. senator.

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