Congressman Pete Olson

Representing the 22nd District of Texas

Op-Ed: Galveston County Daily News

April 15, 2010

Op – Ed in Galveston County Daily News

Reflect on how tax money is spent

By U.S. Rep. Pete Olson
Special to The Daily News

Published April 15, 2010

Today is Tax Day; the day our tax returns are due to the Internal Revenue Service. As we perform this annual ritual, it is important to take a look at how much we are paying to the government and what it is being spent on.

Our nation has been struggling to recover from a severe recession, and the solution proposed by liberal Democrats is to increase federal spending to staggering levels and have the government take over the private sector. It’s amazing how little regard the administration and its followers in Congress have for the power of the American marketplace to create fulfilling, long-lasting jobs for our citizens.

The federal government should provide an environment of economic growth through limited, common sense regulations and a reasonable tax structure. Instead, we face a crushing volume of burdensome regulations and a tax structure that discourages growth and prosperity.

In less than two years, President Barack Obama’s administration has increased nondefense spending by 84 percent. The Congressional Budget Office predicts under the president’s spending plans, the deficits in the next 10 years will total $9.8 trillion.

Furthermore, the president’s fiscal 2011 budget raises taxes by $3 trillion and increases federal spending by $1.6 trillion in the next 10 years. If enacted, this budget would increase the 2010 deficit to more than $1.5 trillion, and leave a deficit of more than $1 trillion even after an assumed return to peace and prosperity. Overall, the president’s budget will double our national debt in the next decade.

According to the independent Tax Foundation, the average American worked from Jan. 1 until April 9 just to pay federal, state and local taxes for 2010. If taxes were high enough to cover deficit spending, this day would not arrive until May 17.

By these figures, public sector spending will consume nearly 40 percent of Americans’ income through debt and taxation this year.

You shouldn’t have to work into April to pay for this irresponsible spending. More spending and high taxes are not the solution for Texas and America.

Our government should allow companies to keep more of their profit and ease some of the onerous regulations so they can reinvest that money and allow for job growth.

Costs would go down, consumers could keep more of their money, and our economy would stabilize. This will not happen under the weight of higher taxes and regulations.

On top of all of the tax-and-spend policies, there are several tax cuts set to expire at the end of this year, increasing the tax burden even further. That is why I am pushing legislation that would provide meaningful tax relief for families, individuals and businesses.

Legislation I support includes elimination of the marriage penalty tax, the death tax (or estate tax) and the Alternative Minimum Tax, as well as tax incentives for veterans and their spouses.

And I support a balanced-budget constitutional amendment to force the federal budget to spend within their means, like family households, businesses and state and local governments are required to do.

If we fail to implement a fiscally responsible budget, our children and grandchildren will inherit a legacy of debt. What the majority in Congress is doing to them is unacceptable.

I hope you agree we cannot stand by and allow that to happen. As you fill out your tax form, ask yourself how your money is being spent, and if you don’t like it, let your congressmen, congresswomen, senators, and president know.

You still have the power to change the direction of our great nation.

U.S. Rep. Pete Olson’s district includes part of Galveston County.