Press Release: Putting Numbers to Paper, Mr. President, is Only "Fair"
As Taxmageddon Looms, Lawmakers Call on the President to Put Some Meat on His Rhetoric
“For months, the President has consistently told the American people that he thinks everyone should pay ‘their fair share.’ While no one would disagree with this notion, when it comes to our looming tax explosion, the IRS cannot collect ‘fair share’ they must collect an actual number. This vague notion, championed by the President, is politically akin to being for puppies and against fraud; the devil is in the details. We are prepared to work with the President to find common ground on tax rates, the AMT, the death tax, and hundreds of tax exemptions distorting our tax code. However, we cannot negotiate with a slogan; we can only negotiate with a number."
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dennis Ross, Chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, today sent a letter to the White House asking the President, in light of the looming tax crisis, to define, numerically, what he believes every Americans “fair share” of taxes is.
In sending the letter, Congressman Ross said, “For months, the President has consistently told the American people that he thinks everyone should pay ‘their fair share.’ While no one would disagree with this notion, when it comes to our looming tax explosion, the IRS cannot collect ‘fair share’ they must collect an actual number. This vague notion, championed by the President, is politically akin to being for puppies and against fraud; the devil is in the details. We are prepared to work with the President to find common ground on tax rates, the AMT, the death tax, and hundreds of tax exemptions distorting our tax code. However, we cannot negotiate with a slogan; we can only negotiate with a number."
Congressman Ross concluded by saying, “My colleagues who also signed this letter are routinely mischaracterized by the media and the ‘punditocracy,’ as being against compromise. I sincerely hope this letter will serve as notice that we are more than prepared to compromise with the President, but we cannot offer a number, while the President offers rainbows and butterflies.”
The letter text is as follows:
September 15, 2012
President Barack Obama
Dear Mr. President,
As you know, numerous tax provisions are set to expire at the end of the year unless we, as elected leaders, act. Allowing these tax provisions to expire, or refusing to adopt fundamental tax reform, will mean every American who pays taxes will face a tax increase at a time of economic uncertainty and declining wages. This could potentially deepen the economic and fiscal crisis facing our nation and plunge us into a double dip recession.
We would like to work with the White House to come to an agreement on this issue for the good of the American taxpayer. You have consistently indicated that you would like to address our looming tax crisis by ensuring the wealthy “pay their fair-share.” While no one disagrees that Americans of all income levels should pay their “fair share,” that is politically akin to saying one is “for education” and “against crime.” The devil is in the details.
Seeing as the expiring tax provisions include income tax rate increases across the board, an expansion of the Alternative Minimum Tax, and the resurrection of the death tax, just to name a few, we would like to begin to put some numbers to the discussion with the understanding that tax increases affect all taxpayers, across all income levels.
In the interest of transparency and honesty with the American people - seeing as they will be shouldering the tax burden - we would ask that you please define what you believe to be everyone’s “fair share.” There will, no doubt, be disagreement on what is fair, but we believe that putting actual numbers to the debate will help determine how far apart we are and assist in building consensus on where we need to go. Defining, by ordinary income, investment income, inheritance income, and more, what percentage in tax you believe to be a “fair share” would go a long way in informing the American taxpayer and resolving the looming tax crisis.
We know this is a tough proposition in an election year. However, the expiring tax provisions cannot be put off and the American people don’t have the luxury of waiting until after an election or kicking their personal debt can down the road.
We stand ready to meet with you or any member of your staff to discuss these matters and work together to come to a compromise on these and other tax issues facing our great nation.
Rep. Dennis A. Ross
Dennis Ross, son of Bill and Loyola Ross, was born in 1959 and raised in Lakeland, Florida. He graduated from Auburn University and the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University. He has served as in-house counsel to the Walt Disney Company and as an associate of the law firm of Holland & Knight. Prior to serving in Congress, he owned and operated his own law firm, Ross Vecchio PA, specializing in Workers’ Compensation defense. He previously served in the Florida Legislature from 2000 until being term limited in 2008. Dennis and his wife, Cindy Hartley, were married in 1983 and have two sons, Shane and Travis.
In the 112th Congress, Dennis serves on the Committee on Oversight & Government Reform (Chairman of the Federal Workforce, Postal Service & Labor Policy Subcommittee) as well as the Education & the Workforce and Judiciary Committees.