May 11, 1995
Archer Announces Hearing on
Replacing the Federal Income Tax
Congressman Bill Archer (R-TX), Chairman of the Committee on
Ways and Means, today announced that the Committee will hold three
days of hearings on replacing the Federal income tax. The hearings
will take place on Tuesday, June 6, Wednesday, June 7, and Thursday,
June 8, 1995, in the main Committee hearing room, 1100 Longworth
House Office Building, beginning at 10:00 a.m. each day. The
Committee will receive testimony from invited witnesses.
The first Federal income tax was enacted as part of the Revenue
Act of 1862 to finance the Civil War. However, the modern income tax
was enacted as part of the Revenue Act of 1913, following the
ratification of the 16th Amendment. The income tax had a maximum
rate of 7% (for taxable incomes over $500,000).
Since 1913, the Federal income tax has steadily expanded, as
has public dissatisfaction with it. Major revisions to the Internal
Revenue Code occurred in 1938, 1954, and 1986, but significant
revisions occur on nearly an annual basis, and minor amendments to
the internal Code are generally made several times a year. this
torrent of tax legislation has been followed by a flood of tax
regulations, tax forms, and tax litigation.
The cost of complying with the Federal income tax has grown
with the complexity of the tax. The cost of complying with Federal
taxes is generally considered to be well in excess of $100 billion
annually. This compliance burden is particularly brutal for small
Frustration with the current Federal tax system is widespread.
The current Federal income, estate, and gift taxes treat savings and
investment too harshly. Many aspects of the current tax code place
American workers and businesses at a competitive disadvantage. All
the various rules in the tax code have not stopped widespread tax
avoidance by the underground economy.
In announcing the hearings, Chairman Archer stated, "I am
committed to tearing the income tax out by its roots. If we don't
tear it out by the roots, I am afraid it will grow back just as
tangled as it is now. Therefore, I intend to have the Committee on
Ways and Means carefully examine alternative tax systems that would
replace completely the current income, estate, and gift tax system.
However, alternative tax systems must not be measured simply against
the current tax system. That's too easy. Instead, all of the
proposed tax systems considered by the Committee should be measured
against four goals: (1) Is it easy to comply with and does it reduce
the role of the Federal Government in our lives; (2) Does it
encourage greater savings and investment; (3) Does it improve the
international competitiveness of American workers and businesses;
and (4) Does it pick up revenue from the underground economy and
others who currently do not comply with the tax laws? I believe that
a broad based tax on consumption best meets these goals, and every
proponent of a new tax system should be prepared to explain how that
tax system meets these four goals."
WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE
This hearing will review the problems with the current Federal
income, estate, and gift taxes and examine various alternative tax
systems, including consumption taxes, a flat tax, and the Unlimited
Savings Account tax proposal.
DETAILS FOR SUBMISSION OF WRITTEN COMMENTS:
Any person or organization wishing to submit a written
statement for the printed record of the hearing should submit at
least six (6) copies of their statement, with their address and date
of hearing noted, by the close of business, Thursday, June 22, 1995,
to Phillip D. Moseley, Chief of Staff, Committee on Ways and Means,
U.S. House of Representatives, 1102 Longworth House Office Building,
Washington, D.C. 20515. If those filing written statements wish to
have their statements distributed to the press and interested public
at the hearing, they may deliver 200 additional copies for this
purpose to the Committee office, room 1102 Longworth House Office
Building, at least two hours before the hearing begins.
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