Hoeven Calls for Comprehensive Tax Reform

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven yesterday spoke on the U.S. Senate floor calling for pro-growth tax reform that will help grow the economy, create jobs and reduce the deficit and debt without raising taxes. With unemployment at 8.2 percent for more than three years, middle class income down nearly $5,000 and Food Stamp use up by 45 percent, the nation should not be thinking about raising taxes on anyone, and especially not on the one million small businesses that would be impacted by the president’s plan. Small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms, employ half of all private-sector employees and historically have led the nation out of recessions.

The senator’s remarks came in response to President Obama’s proposal Monday to raise tax rates rather than extending the current tax rates through next year. Hoeven said the president’s proposal means raising taxes on individuals and small businesses, and the capital gains tax on investment, which fuels job growth. It also means raising the death tax on American families. Hoeven said the president made his proposal even though he has repeatedly said we cannot raise taxes in a recession because it would hurt the economy and job creation.

“The way to do it is with pro-growth tax reform and closing loopholes, not by raising taxes on some people, some businesses and not others,” Hoeven said. “We’ve proposed pro-growth tax reform and closing loopholes. Let’s extend the current tax rates for one year and set up a process to pass pro-growth tax reform that lowers rates, that closes loopholes, that’s fair, that’s simple and that will generate the revenue to reduce our debt and deficit along with controlling government spending, but that will generate the economic growth to drive revenue, not higher taxes. The reality is that is the only way to get on top of our debt and deficit and to get people back to work.”

To illustrate his point, Hoeven read a letter on the Senate floor that he received from Jeff Hinz, owner of Kirkwood Ace Hardware in Bismarck, North Dakota, expressing deep concern for the president’s proposed tax increase on small businesses:

“The president’s recent comments on raising taxes on high income earners concern me greatly. Perhaps he just doesn’t understand that for people like me, who own a business, the bulk of those earnings actually go to the bank payments for what I borrowed to be here. I am actually in danger of being taxed to a point of no living wage for myself. The taxes and bank payments come first. Out of an income that classifies me as rich, I actually take $40,000 home to my family. How much more do they want?

“John, you’ve shopped in my store, you’ve seen how we have grown, and you know people like me would use every available dime to grow more. This president’s programs not only limit my company’s potential to grow, but they destroy any incentive to work and hire more people. I just don’t know if he doesn’t understand what he’s doing, or just doesn’t care.”

Hoeven cited as models for the federal government states like North Dakota and Indiana, which have reduced taxes, spent within their means and created a pro-growth legal, tax and regulatory environment to empower people and businesses to grow and expand.

“For the decade of 2000 to 2010, I served as governor of a state,” Hoeven said. “That's the approach we took. Look at the results in our state of North Dakota. Look at the results in states like Indiana where that approach has been taken. It works at the state level. It will work at the federal level. And we need to do it. I call on President Obama, as well as my colleagues, to engage in this vital effort now for the good of the American people.”