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Rep. John Lewis Says Everyone Should Pay Their Fair Share of Taxes

April 18, 2012
Press Release

WASHINGTON –Rep. John Lewis repeated his call for Congress to restore tax fairness for the middle class, beginning with the Buffett Rule.  The Buffett Rule ensures that people making over $1 million per year do not pay a lower tax rate than middle-class Americans.

         "It is simply unfair to ask middle class Americans to pay a higher tax rate than millionaires and billionaires," said Rep. John Lewis.   “People understand the need to sacrifice, but not when they are repeatedly cut to the bone while others are given a break.”

          The Ryan budget , which the Republican House leadership has advanced would not only continue this imbalance, it would offer an additional $265,000 break, beyond the Bush tax cuts, for all people earning over $1 million a year.  The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says if the Ryan plan becomes law it would “impose trillions in spending cuts, at least 62 percent of which would come from low-income programs [while enacting] new tax cuts that would provide huge windfalls to households at the top of the income scale.  The Republican approach to fixing the deficit would also end the Medicare guarantee, reduce Medicare benefits, and repeal preventive care and prescription drug benefits for seniors all in the name of balancing the budget.  Meanwhile, it would offer additional tax benefits for the richest among us. 

          “That is not fair,” said Rep. Lewis.  “ Profitable  giant corporations like GE made $14 billion in profit last year and not only paid no taxes but received millions from the federal government in a tax return.  Why can’t GE pay something to help our nation’s bottom line, especially when our economy is trying to recover?  Instead, the Republicans argue people making $30,000 should pay even more in taxes so big corporations can keep their profit, along with tax returns paid out of the federal Treasury.  That money could be used to serve Americans—families, children and seniors.  If these ideas become law, the middle class, which is already struggling with high energy costs, stagnant wages, exorbitant health care costs, higher education and food costs will find it much more difficult than it already is to make ends meet.”

          The Republican plan, already passed by the House, would subtract funds from transportation and infrastructure projects, funds that are very important to Georgia ,and give tax breaks to companies which outsource American jobs.   (See attached  Ways and Means one-pager on HR 9 – MORE)

         Their budget provides an average annual tax cut of $394,000 for those making over $1 million per year , and they are advancing a tax bill this week (H.R. 9) which interprets the term “small business” in a way that gives benefits away to wealthy  entrepreneurs like Kim Kardashian , but leaves “mom and pop” businesses with no relief.  Democrats oppose this unfair approach to tax policy. 

          “The American people, “said Rep. John Lewis, “need to ask themselves who their members represent.  Are they representing the interests of the majority of Americans, the middle and working class, or are they only interested in the advancing the causes of the rich.”

    The "Buffett Rule" is so-named because billionaire Warren Buffett has decried the fact that his secretary pays a higher tax rate than he does.  To restore tax fairness and provide tax cuts for economic growth, the Democratic budget includes the Buffett Rule, and extends middle class tax cuts while ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.  All Republicans opposed this budget.  Yesterday debate on the Buffet rule was blocked by Senate Republicans.