Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he will attend tonight’s State of the Union Address, but he’s already skeptical about at least one of President Obama’s main areas of focus. Grassley, a Republican, says the president plans to unveil a proposal to create new tax breaks and benefits on the lower end of the income scale while raising taxes on higher earners.
“I don’t think his approach will succeed in Congress,” Grassley says. “Many of us are interested in comprehensive tax reform that makes the tax code easier for taxpayers and makes the United States more competitive worldwide.”
Industry leaders, like the creators of Apple and Amazon, need an environment that encourages job growth and investment in the United States, Grassley says, not in China or Ireland. “The president’s proposal would make the tax code more complex and so contradicts one of the main goals of comprehensive tax reform which is greater simplicity,” Grassley says. “The president seems less concerned about encouraging innovation than in scoring political points.”
Congress needs to keep looking for ways to increase what Grassley calls “tax fairness,” and he spearheaded tax relief efforts in 2001 and 2003 as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. “The new Finance Committee chairman has named me to help lead a working group on individual taxes to advise the complete committee on good reform,” Grassley says. “I’ll listen to the president’s proposal but so far, what I’ve read about it, it doesn’t seem he has job creation and economic growth in mind and that sounds like a non-starter.”
Grassley says what the nation will end up needing under Obama’s plan is more taxpayers.