Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer says he wants to simplify the tax code to the point where Americans fill out their returns on post cards.
Emmer shared his vision for tax changes Tuesday night in Ramsey.
After hitting a roadblock in their effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, President Trump and Congressional Republicans are preparing to take on a long-promised overhaul of the federal tax code.
Trump has said he’ll release a proposal soon that provides a massive tax cut to businesses and individuals.
Emmer said it's a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“Why, for goodness sake, can’t a Republican Senate and a Republican House pass a tax reform bill with this president? There is no reason that it shouldn’t get done, which is why I believe it’s absolutely going to get done. It’s dependent upon the courage in both of these bodies how far we go.”
Speaking before a small, receptive crowd at a forum sponsored by the Minnesota chapter of the group Americans for Prosperity, Emmer said the key to success on taxes is to avoid repeating some of the recent mistakes made on health care. To that end, he says agreement is needed among the House, Senate and President Trump before moving forward.
Emmer offered some specifics of what he'd like to see, including a reduction in the number of tax brackets from seven to three, a cut in the corporate tax rate and an elimination of the estate tax. He expects a big push to eliminate many deductions and exemptions, although he predicted deductions for mortgage interest and charitable donations will remain in place.
One of his top priorities is helping businesses.
“Anything we can do to lighten the load for our small businesses, our entrepreneurs that are just starting out and creating tomorrow’s big business will have a huge impact today and on the future of this state and this country,” Emmer said.
Emmer represents Minnesota’s 6
District, a reliably Republican section of the state. But Minnesota DFL Party chair Ken Martin accused Emmer of embracing an approach to taxes that will favor big money interests rather than his constituents.
“It’s comical that they would call it tax reform because the only people it benefits are big corporations and the wealthiest 1 percent," Martin said. "In the 6
Congressional District, there are very few people that make enough money who would actually benefit from this tax reform bill.”
Emmer has heard the criticism before. During his remarks, he insisted that a reduction in corporate taxes will benefit all with lower prices. He also predicted the tax cuts will spur economic growth.
Many of the tax goals of Emmer and Congressional Republicans line up closely with those being pushed by Americans For Prosperity, a nonprofit advocacy group financed by brothers Charles and David Koch. The group has been hosting similar tax reform summits across the country during the Congressional recess. But there are differences.
Jason Flohrs, the AFP’s Minnesota director, said the group pressured House GOP leaders to abandon their plan for a “border adjustment tax” on imported goods.
“That’s not on the table anymore, partly due to the action taken by our activists here and across the country. So, we want to keep that pressure on.”