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Words from Washington

Year-end tax hikes will affect all Americans if Congress does not act

Families and small businesses throughout Central Washington know that our economy is still struggling. Not enough jobs are being created, not enough people are back to work, and families are still sitting around their kitchen tables trying to find ways to trim their household budgets.

At times like these, the last thing America needs is another tax increase on already overburdened workers.

For nearly a decade, all taxpayers have lived and worked under a set of tax rules, rules that while far from perfect or fair, are lower and more equitable than the ones from the 1990s. Some of the provisions that allow Americans to keep their taxes low include the reduction and eventual elimination of the death tax, getting rid of the marriage penalty, simplifying the tax brackets, increasing the tax deduction for children and lowering income tax rates for everyone.

The bad news is that unless those who currently control Congress act before the end of the year, every American taxpayer will see their rates increased. This massive tax hike will cost our nation nearly $4 trillion, and Central Washington families cannot afford yet another federal government tax.

That is why I have urged those who control Congress to extend the current tax rates for all Americans before the end of the year, so that families and small businesses can plan their budgets for the coming year. The facts show that these tax hikes will cost Central Washington jobs, raise taxes thousands of dollars on the average family and slow economic growth.

By giving small businesses the ability to invest more of their income back into hiring new employees and growing their company, more jobs will be created for Central Washington workers. But when Congress fails to act, their taxes will go up significantly and fewer dollars will be available to hire new employees and grow their companies.

Instead of new taxes, Congress should be working on common sense policies that will help the private sector create jobs and grow the economy.

There is a bipartisan majority in both the House and the Senate that wants to keep taxes low for all Americans, and all it would take would be for Speaker Pelosi and Leader Reid to allow for an up-or-down vote on the measure for it to succeed. I would hope that when Congress returns to work that they will stop the largest tax hike in history and keep taxes low for all American workers.

- Congressman Doc Hastings (R-Pasco) represents Central Washington's Fourth Congressional District.

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