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Mike Huckabee -- "Families are unfairly taxed."

By Mike Huckabee's way of thinking, the tax code as it exists in America today imposes penalties on a husband and wife simply for the fact they are married. Despite reforms in 2003 easing the marriage penalty for families in the 15 per cent bracket, it still exists. In addition, On the road in Iowalike many of the meaningful Bush tax reforms, Congress must still act to make these reforms permanent. Mike states quite firmly, "I am for making every Bush tax reform permanent. As president, I will push for elimination of the marriage penalty." From personal experience, Mike Huckabee knows how hard it is to run a family business when the tax rules are constantly being changed. His strong belief in policies to strengthen the family led him "to consider the concept of a flat tax-type reform of our entire system." According to the General Accounting Office, Americans’ waste between $240 and $600 billion each year trying to figure out how to comply with the federal tax code. At its core, a flat tax has but one “loophole,” that being a generous exemption for households based on family size. Implementation of a flat tax structure would uniformly address the marriage penalty across all family incomes. Mike adds, "If nothing else, a flat tax would allow parents to spend more time with their kids and less time huddled around the kitchen table, worrying about filling out their tax forms."

Examine the issue of the Alternative Minimum Tax, or AMT, and once again the complexity and paper work intensity of our arcane tax system staggers common sense. Of the 893 forms required by our current tax system, nothing is more of a tangled mess than the AMT.  On the road in IowaWithout reform, by 2010, the 1969 AMT, intended to capture the tiny number of wealthy taxpayers who owed no tax, will become a burden on as many as 36 million taxpayers. Make no mistake - this is not a new problem but rather one that has been building for 20-plus years. Families with children are hit the hardest. Under the AMT calculation (IRS FORM 6251), parents may not claim exemptions for their kids. Moreover, the AMT imposes a marriage penalty because the exemption for couples is less than twice that for singles and the tax rates are not adjusted for marital status. Leonard Burman, et al, in a study for a 2003 IRS conference, estimated that 85 per cent of married taxpayers with two or more children will face the AMT in 2010. Ironically, for upper middle income families, this will roll back the Bush tax cuts, scuttle tax efficiency, and confuse taxpayers. Mike Huckabee asks, "How can any parent or businessmen make an informed financial decision without knowing their marginal tax rate?"  However, Mike has a plan to address this issue as well.  Mike says of his plan, "I believe this is best dealt with by a comprehensive reform of the tax system, such as the flat tax. Short of comprehensive reform, I support AMT reforms attacking the marriage penalty and focusing upon reduced complexity."

Mike Huckabee doesn't believe going about any project half-heartedly is a recipe for success  Talking bio-fuels in IowaTherefore, you can take him seriously when he says, "While I strongly believe the political will must be built for a comprehensive tax reform, I will work with the private sector, Congressional leaders and the Treasury to seek a list of existing tax provisions acting as impediments to stronger family finances. Once identified, we must work together to knock over those obstacles." As governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee successfully undertook a similar approach. Working with an overwhelmingly Democrat General Assembly, he led efforts to pass, and ultimately he signed into law, a host of family-friendly tax reforms including the first broad-based tax cut in the state’s history, doubling the child care tax credit, eliminating the state marriage penalty, eliminating the income tax for families below the poverty line, increasing the standard deduction, and eliminating bracket creep by indexing income taxes to inflation.

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