Letter to the Editor: Tax reform requires compromise, cooperation


Sunday, November 26, 2017

I keep hearing and reading all the hype and hullaballoo over the proposed tax changes that are under way in each chamber of Congress. The articles and opinions that I have read are overlooking the fact that what is being proposed now is just a starting point. What we end up getting will be quite different.

One side is spinning it one way, and the other side is spinning it in a different direction. The key to a good tax plan is cooperation and compromise. When President Ronald Reagan and President John F. Kennedy got their tax cuts through Congress, it was accomplished through compromise and cooperation.

From my point of view, we are in need of a major tax cut and revision of the tax laws, tax code and tax regulations. The revisions of the tax code and tax regulations should be based on whatever new laws that come out of Congress. The new laws need to be explicit to limit the misinterpretation and misuse of our tax code. We have had misuse of the tax code by the past three presidents.

Our tax laws, tax code and tax regulations today contain too many cases of double taxation. The most egregious of the double taxation today is the estate and gift tax laws.

The estate tax laws as applied today affects the farmer and the individual business owner more harshly than any other group. It does not take long for a farmer or small business owner to accumulate assets worth $5 million to $10 million. Those who inherit the business or farm cannot continue the business or farm operation because in many, if not most, cases, those who inherit the farm or the business must dispose of the assets to pay the estate tax.

The funds used to purchase the assets in the business or farm were taxed when they were acquired through the efforts of the business owner or farmer. To subject the assets of the business owner or farmer upon their death to taxation is a double taxation.

Gifts to individuals of more than $15,000 are subject to taxation. The money being gifted was taxed already when the giftor earned the money they are now giving away.

Beside the double taxation on gifts to an individual, there is a double standard with gifts! You can give to a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, to political candidates and to political organizations in any amount you wish without a tax being charged, but gift amounts more than $15.000 to an individual means you will pay gift tax on all that is beyond $15,000. If you are going to tax gifts, tax all gifts, not just those going to individuals.

Our Congress has contained a bunch of loggerheads for the past 11 years. It is time to end the quarrelsome and combative attitude of all the members of Congress. The only way that the citizens of the United States gain is when we have a Congress that will compromise and cooperate to better the economy and the lives of the people through good fiscal constraints on our government.


Rocky Mount