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GOP Rep. Has an Idea for Tax Reform
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 14: Tax preparer Robert Romero (L) helps a customer prepare his income taxes at Liberty Tax Service on April 14, 2014 in San Francisco, California. Tax preparers are helping last minute tax filers ahead of the April 15th deadline to file state and federal income taxes. The Internal Revenue Service is expecting an estimated 35 million returns in the week leading up to the deadline. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

GOP Rep. Has an Idea for Tax Reform

“This is a matter of liberty."

Freshman GOP member David Jolly (R-Fla.) proposed legislation this week that would let people off the hook for their federal income tax bill if they can show they’ve already paid 50 percent of their income in other taxes.

Jolly said he proposed his “Alternative Maximum Tax” bill, H.R. 4512, because Americans are already facing a bevy of taxes at the state and local level, and their federal income tax bill often puts them at an effective tax rate of more than 50 percent.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Tax preparation could see radical changes under a GOP bill to limit the overall tax rate to 50 percent. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

“This is a personal freedom issues,” Jolly said Wednesday. “The amount of taxes that any one individual is responsible for providing to government collectively ultimately restricts the individual’s freedom to make their own decisions.

“We have easily identified over 40 different taxes that individuals are subjected to, each from different taxing authorities, yet there is no ombudsman looking out for the taxpayer to determine what is the appropriate level of total taxation any one person must be responsible for.”

Jolly said he believes the maximum level should be below 50 percent, but said he believes Congress could more quickly pass the bill using 50 percent as the maximum level.

“This is a matter of liberty.  No American should be required to pay more than 50% of their income to government.”

Under his bill, people would be able to avoid paying their federal income tax if doing so puts their effective rate above 50 percent. Jolly’s proposal says people would pay their non-federal taxes first – this would include a range of taxes people pay in the market, such as air transportation taxes, and taxes on cigarettes, insurance, gasoline, hotels, inheritance, alcohol, luxuries, and even taxes under Obamacare.

Taxes on Social Security and Medicare would also have to be paid first. Federal income taxes would be considered last, and the bill would require people to pay their federal tax bill up until the point that they hit the 50 percent overall limit.

Jolly won a special election in Florida in March, beating his Democratic opponent 48.5 to 46.7 percent. While he won in a Republican district, many saw Jolly’s victory as a sign that Democrats will struggle in the November mid-term elections.

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