Wednesday, January 10, 2001
Collins: Education, taxes, Social Security, Medicare at top of Congress' priorities
Tax relief will be high on the legislative agenda, Rep. Mac Collins said this week after the 434 members of the new 107th Congress were sworn in.
Collins, who represents Fayette and nine other counties, spoke after the newly elected members of the House of Representatives took their oaths of office and then voted for Rep. Denny Hastert, R-Ill., to serve as the speaker of the House.
"Congress has a lot to do, and I believe we'll get it done with the cooperation of the new administration," Collins said. "This Congress will work with the new administration on Social Security, Medicare, education, and a national energy policy. It must also continue a program of tax relief to help families and strengthen the businesses which create jobs and build our economy."
Collins said a key element to any tax reform must be scrapping the alternative minimum tax. "We already see instances where 1.5 million American families are denied their fair tax relief because of the alternative minimum tax laws, and that is not right," Collins said. "This tax must be scrapped."
The Internal Revenue Service national taxpayer advocate agrees with Collins, he said, and is recommending for the second straight year that Congress should scrap the AMT on individuals. Doing so addresses the most serious problem facing taxpayers the complexity of the U.S. tax code, the advocate argues.
Republicans in Congress have tried repeatedly to repeal the AMT for individuals, only to be blocked by President Clinton. "The 107th Congress will pass good legislation, because we will now have a president whom we can trust to build a true working relationship," Collins said.
"It was a good sign when the Federal Reserve Board approved an interest rate cut on the first day of Congress," he added. "Low interest rates, low taxes, a coherent national energy policy and reasonable regulations are the foundations for a thriving economy."