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D.C. Report: Time to Repeal & Replace the Income Tax!

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Why is now the time to repeal and replace the income tax?  Answer:  $9 trillion in tax evasion!  Yes, you read that correctly.  A study published this month by Dr. Richard Cebula, using IRS data, projected that over the next decade total tax evasion will be $9 trillion.  All other congressional debates on Capitol Hill pale in comparison to replacing the crumbling and invasive income tax system.  That was the message that AFFT Chairman & President Steve Hayes and I delivered to 21 congressional offices last week, including meetings with 6 Members of Congress, many of whom are pictured with us below.
 
Drama & Intrigue
 
It was another historic week in D.C. — full of drama and intrigue!  The hearings in the House Intelligence Committee or the Senate Judiciary Committee were on televisions in Members’ offices.  However, the biggest drama was over the health care legislation which ended in defeat.  When we arrived for our appointments, congressional staff were often on the phone talking (or should I say listening) to irate constituents who did not want the Affordable Care Act repealed, and staff were making notes on the computer about those comments.  Also, in a few cases we were unable to meet with some Members of Congress because they were on their way to meet with President Trump about the upcoming health care vote or had to go to the House or Senate floor for a vote or to make their remarks.
 
Bold Tax Reform
 
Now, Congress faces an even more daunting task — meaningful tax reform!!  As an Independent, I often discuss the FAIRtax with my Democrat and Republican friends, and they support and understand the simplification and advantages of the FAIRtax (H.R.25 & S.18)…no more tax returns…pay a visible retail sales tax on new goods and services…a monthly prebate check sent to all legal residents to pay for sales taxes up to the poverty level…border adjustability providing for international competitiveness…everyone living in America or visiting our country pays the sales tax which funds Social Security, Medicare, and other important government programs! 
 
This should not be a partisan issue; this is an issue that affects all Americans, especially W-2 wage earners who have no recourse but to report their earnings and pay their income taxes.  By 2020, over 40% of the U.S. workforce will be nontraditional workers or independent contractors, and as a result, there will be increasing underreporting of income and over exaggeration of expenses, which currently results in over $600 billion in tax evasion.  That evasion is subsidized by the rest of the working class Americans who are unable to evade the income tax.  The system is broken, and needs a permanent fix…not some tweaking around the edges like the Tax Reform Act of 1986, the flat tax which didn’t stay flat!!  That was our message on Capitol Hill.
 
Message to President Trump
 
I am hoping that President Trump really wants to “drain the swamp” of paid tax lobbyists who contort the system through “pay to play” political contributions, and that he decides that his legacy is best achieved by passing real tax reform that actually places the working class American at the center of any reform.  If President Trump wants to take bold action, then encourage him to listen to those FAIRtax supporters around him, like Vice President Mike Pence (who was a FAIRtax cosponsor in the House), former Governor Mike Huckabee (who made FAIRtax part of his presidential platform) and CIA Director Mike Pompeo (another FAIRtax cosponsor in the House who I pinned last year).  It is time that our voices are heard, and as we saw with the defeated health care legislation, by calling our Members of Congress at both their local and national offices, we will respectfully convey our message loud and clear:  We want a national sales tax, and no more income tax!!!
 
MEETINGS WITH MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
 
For this trip, I focused our appointments on a variety of Members, including those who were on the Senate Finance Committee, the House Ways & Means Committee, the House Small Business Committee, the Joint Economic Committee, as well as our Sponsors and Cosponsors.  I also pinned some of our Cosponsors with a FAIRtax pin.
 
Rep. Blake Farenthold (TX-27, CoSponsor)


 
Rep. Blake Farenthold (TX-27, CoSponsor) is from my great State of Texas in the Corpus Christi area, a beach community which I pass through on my way to South Padre Island for vacation every year.  I officially pinned him with a FAIRtax lapel pin, which he was still wearing when I walked passed him outside the Capitol Hill grounds later that afternoon. He serves on the following House Committees:  Oversight and Government Reform; and Judiciary (Vice Chairman, Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law).  Tax Legislative Assistant Hannah Jaeckle joined us for this meeting. Thank you Congressman Farenthold for your commitment to the FAIRtax!  Also, thank you to our FAIRtax leadership in Texas!!!
 
Rep. Barry Loudermilk (GA-11, CoSponsor)



Rep. Barry Loudermilk (GA-11, CoSponsor) is officially pinned for the 115th Congress, and he invited Steve Hayes to be a speaker on tax reform at one of his Town Hall meetings in the fall.  He serves on the following House Committees:  Financial Services; House Administration; and Science, Space, & Technology.  Legislative Director Colin Carr joined us for this meeting. Thank you Congressman Loudermilk for your continued support for the FAIRtax!  Also, thank you to our FAIRtax leadership in Georgia!!
 
Rep. Frank Lucas (OK-3, CoSponsor)
 

 
Rep. Frank Lucas (OK-3, CoSponsor) is also officially pinned for the 115th Congress.  He serves on the following House Committees:  Agriculture; Financial Services; and Science, Space & Technology (Vice Chairman).  Tax Legislative Assistant Christian Dibblee joined us for this meeting.  Thank you Congressman Lucas for your efforts on behalf of the FAIRtax, and we also thank our FAIRtax leadership in Oklahoma!!
 
Rep. Trent Franks (AZ-8, CoSponsor)
 

 
Rep. Trent Franks (AZ-8, CoSponsor) was on his way to the House floor with his staff as Steve and I were approaching the elevator at the end of our last day.  We had just met with his Deputy Chief of Staff & Legislative Director Bobby Cornett, and left his office a few minutes later.  Bobby remembered that I had wanted to pin the Congressman, but he had not been in the office.  With Bobby’s suggestion, we did an official pinning ceremony on the spot!  Also, in our meeting with Bobby earlier, he mentioned that the Congressman would be interested in Steve’s participation in a tax reform Town Hall, possibly in June!  Congressman Franks serves on the following House Committees:  Armed Services; and Judiciary. Thank you Congressman Franks for your continued commitment to the FAIRtax, and thanks goes to FAIRtax leadership in Arizona!!
 
Rep. Rob Woodall (GA-7, SPONSOR)


 
Rep. Rob Woodall (GA-7, SPONSOR) is a man with a mission, namely the FAIRtax!  He is our champion…our Sponsor, and he often testifies at House committee hearings about the benefits of the FAIRtax.  When I was pinning Members of Congress last year, I remember in particular that Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (NC-5) said that she was excited that she could now show off her FAIRtax pin to Congressman Woodall, and indeed we heard later that day about her showing her pin to him on the House floor.  He serves on the following House Committees:  Rules (Chairman, Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process); Budget; and Transportation and Infrastructure.  When we meet with other Members or their staff from Georgia, we are often told that he and our FAIRtax leadership in Georgia keep them well informed on the FAIRtax!  And as far as his congressional staff…
 
A Special Thank You to Alex and Kelley


 
Congressman Rob Woodall’s staff always provide a warm welcome to Steve and me!  In particular, Senior Policy Advisor Alex Poirot and Administrative Assistant & Scheduler Kelley Kurtz (both pictured above with me) provide invaluable assistance to us when we visit Capitol Hill.  Thank you both for your enthusiastic support of the FAIRtax!!
 
Sen. John Barrasso (WY)
 
Sen. John Barrasso (WY) met with Steve Hayes while I was at another meeting.  He serves on the following Senate Committees:  Energy and Natural Resources (Chairman, Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests); Environment and Public Works; Indian Affairs (Chairman); and Foreign Relations.  Thank you to Wyoming FAIRtax leader Sam McAtee, who was instrumental in scheduling this meeting for us!
 
OTHER CAPITOL HILL MEETINGS
Other congressional office meetings were as follows in the Senate and the House:
 
SENATE:
— Tax Counsel Beth Bell with the office of Senator Ben Cardin (MD; serves on the following Committees: Finance [Subcommittees: Co-Chair, Business Income Tax Working Group; and Taxation & IRS Oversight & Health Care]; Foreign Relations [Ranking Member]; Environment & Public Works [Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Transportation & Infrastructure]; and Small Business & Entrepreneurship).
— Tax Legislative Assistant Victoria Williams with the office of Senator Maggie Hassan (NH; serves on the following Committees:  Joint Economic Committee; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions [HELP]; and Commerce, Science, and Transportation).
— Democratic Staff Director, Subcommittee on National Security & International Trade & Finance, Craig Radcliffe with the office of Senator Heidi Heitkamp (ND; serves on the following Committees:  Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; Indian Affairs; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs [Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management]; & Small Business and Entrepreneurship).
— Tax Legislative Assistant Trent Sterneck and Legislative Correspondent Evan Williams with the office of Senator Jerry Moran (KS, SPONSOR, S.18; serves on the following Committees:  Appropriations [Chairman, Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, & Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee]; Commerce, Science and Transportation [Chairman, Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance & Data Security Commerce Subcommittee]; Environment & Public Works; Veterans’ Affairs; and Indian Affairs).
— Chief of Staff Derrick Dickey, Legislative Director P.J. Waldrop, Tax Legislative Assistant Gerald Huang, and Legislative Aide Joe Kenerly with the office of Senator David Perdue (GA; Cosponsor, S.18; serves on the following Committees:  Budget [Special Committee on Aging]; Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry;  Armed Services; and Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs).
— Legislative Counsel Mika Morse with the office of Senator Brian Schatz (HI; serves on the following Committees:  Appropriations; Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs; Commerce, Science, & Transportation; and Indian Affairs).
 
HOUSE:
— Legislative Director & Counsel Sahra Park-Su with the office of House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (TX-8; former Cosponsor, H.R.25).
— Legislative Director Steve Koncar with the office of Rep. Daniel Webster (FL-11; serves on the following Committees:  Transportation and Infrastructure; Science, Space and Technology; & Natural Resources).  We were scheduled to meet with Congressman Webster, but he was on his way to the House floor for a vote when we arrived.  Thank you, Florida FAIRtax leader Jerry Hammett, for scheduling this meeting for us!
— Legislative Director Patrick Rooney with the office of Rep. John Faso (NY-19; 1st term; serves on the following Committees:  Agriculture; Budget; & Transportation and Infrastructure).  We were scheduled to meet with Congressman Faso, but he was on his way to the White House when we arrived.
— Tax Legislative Assistant Wes Shaw with the office of Rep. Sam Graves (MO-6; Cosponsor H.R.25; serves on the following Committees:  Armed Services; & Transportation [Chairman, Subcommittee on Highways and Transit]).  Again, we were scheduled to meet with Congressman Graves, but he had to go the House floor for a vote.
— Legislative Director Sonali Desai with the office of Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27; serves on the following Committees:  Ways and Means; Small Business; & Judiciary).  We were scheduled to meet with Congresswoman Chu, but she was voting on the House floor when we arrived.
— Tax Legislative Assistant Ryan McDevitt with the office of Rep. Leonard Lance (NJ-7; serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee [Vice Chair, Communications and Technology Subcommittee]).  New Jersey FAIRtax Director & AFFT Board Member Jim Bennett scheduled this meeting, and joined us via teleconference.  Thanks, Jim!
— Legislative Director Tim Daniels with the office of Rep. Andy Harris (MD-1; Cosponsor, H.R.25; serves on the Appropriations Committee)
— Legislative Assistant Caryn Hamner with the office of Rep. Jody Hice (GA-10; Cosponsor, H.R.25; serves on the following Committees: House Oversight and Government Reform; and Natural Resources).
— Tax Legislative Assistant & Communications Director Sheryl Kaufman with the office of Rep. Jim Bridenstine (OK-1; Cosponsor, H.R.25; serves on the Armed Services Committee).  Also, Oliver greeted me as he often does!  See picture below.


 
Volunteering for the FAIRtax
Two years ago this month, Chairman Steve Hayes asked me to accept the volunteer position of Director of Government Relations for AFFT.  It has been my privilege to represent our supporters and working class Americans on Capitol Hill, and I continue to be encouraged by our FAIRtax leaders working on State FAIRtax Memorial Resolutions, an initiative which I rolled out over two years ago.  Steve and I have met with hundreds of members of Congress or with their staff, and continue to receive in-depth questions about our concerns from both Democrats and Republicans. 
 
Volunteers continue to be the heart of our organization, serving on committees, in state leadership, participating in rallies, and speaking to groups.  Many of our volunteers have been involved in the FAIRtax effort for many, many years, and primarily due to their efforts, we had over 80 Cosponsors last year.  With tax reform at the forefront of Congress’ agenda, now—more than ever—is the time to talk to your friends and neighbors (Democrats, Republicans, Independents, etc.) about this nonpartisan issue.  They will likely respond as so many others do — “a national sales tax makes sense!”   Then, they may ask:  “what can I do?”  Ask them to call and ask their Member of Congress to: “repeal and replace the income tax with a national sales tax”.
 
With all of us working on this effort together, we can make history!
 
Peggy Green-Ernst, MBA
Director of Government Relations
Board of Directors Americans For Fair Taxation
Peggy.Green-Ernst@FAIRtax.org
#FAIRtax

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