U.S. Representative

Dennis A. Ross

Proudly Serving Florida's 15th Congressional District

Taxes, Spending, and Our Economy

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Let's face it, the federal government wastes way too much of your tax dollars, and we spend more than we have. The U.S. national debt is more than $17 trillion dollars. This is more than $54,000 per citizen and $150,000 per taxpayer, and those costs continue to be pushed onto the backs of our children and grandchildren.

Government spending has increased dramatically throughout the past decade, and Congress must consider bold and concrete solutions to balance the federal budget and restore fiscal sanity. As a small business owner, I have had to make a payroll, balance my budget, and reduce spending during difficult economic times. Congress should take the same care and caution. If not, the current level of government spending will lead to grave consequences for the American economy.

To achieve fiscal sanity, Congress should take the first step every American family and business owner does: it should pass a budget. The House has passed a responsible budget every year since my election; yet, the Senate went almost three years without passing one – balanced or otherwise – and the president has not gotten his budget to us in time since his election. Instead, the government has been operating off stop-gap measures. If the government had a budget, we would not have to debate the debt ceiling or arbitrary spending cuts through sequestration. That’s why I have voted in favor of the House budgets that reduce the federal deficit over 10 years and I voted in favor of the "No Budget No Pay Act," which said if Congress doesn’t pass a budget, we don’t get paid.

The second step to fiscal sanity is reducing government waste. Why is the Federal Aviation Administration closing Linder Air Tower in Lakeland, FL, when it’s spending $500 million on consultants? Why are we spending $750,000 on a soccer field at Guantanamo Bay? Because proper measures are not in place to weed out waste, fraud, and abuse when agencies write their budgets. That’s why I introduced the ZERO Act, which would require agencies to start at zero in their requests instead of current year funding and justify each line item – including a soccer field for terrorists.

And finally, America’s tax code should be reformed to make it more fair, more transparent, and more easy to navigate. We should not be picking winners and losers through the Internal Revenue Service, and we should work hard to ensure Americans keep as much of their pay check as possible. The bipartisan Bowles-Simpson released a good plan for achieving that, aspects of which I included in the BOLD Act I introduced last year.

• A Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution
• A yearly federal budget that starts at zero when requesting funding (I introduced the ZERO Act)
• Implementing tax reform recommendations from the bi-partisan Simpson-Bowles Commission (I introduced the BOLD Act)
• Giving businesses regulatory and tax certainty so they can start to forecast and hire again
• Eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse at every level of government
• Reducing the federal workforce through attrition
In addition to H.R. 239, the Zero-Based Budgeting Ensures Responsible Oversight Act (ZERO), and H.R. 243, the Bowles-Simpson Plan of Lowering America's Debt Act (BOLD), I have introduced H.R. 3298, the Disaster Savings Account Act, a bill that would allow individuals to set aside up to $5,000 annually in a tax-free account to use for disaster mitigation expenses. The Disaster Savings Account Act will incentivize people to plan ahead for their safety and reduce the need for taxpayer-funded government intervention in the event of a natural disaster.
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