U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady energized the Lake Houston Area Chamber lunchtime crowd with a straightforward question, “Anybody here ready to change the tax code?”
With an enthusiastic “yes” from chamber members, Brady launched into his proposed tax reform, the Blueprint for Pro-growth Tax Reform.
Brady spoke Aug. 18 at the Clubs of Kingwood during the chamber’s annual August Focus on the Federal Government.
“There are 60,000 lobbyists,” Brady said, “and most of them have something in the tax code they like. We want it to reflect 'We the People' not 'We the Lobbyists.'”
Brady represents Texas District 8 and is chair of the House Ways and Means Committee which oversees taxes, health care, Social Security, Medicare, international trade and welfare. He is only the third Texan to lead what is the oldest committee of Congress as well as the chief tax-writing committee in the House.
“Our tax code is costly, unfair and complicated,” Brady said, “and it hasn’t been revised since the Reagan era. We’re long overdue for reform.”
In order to “leapfrog” America from dead last to the front of the line, Brady’s reforms, he said, would:
-Promote business investment and jobs growth through lower tax rates.
-Make the family tax code so simple it can be done on a postcard.
-“Bust-up” the IRS into three parts – one for individuals and families, one for businesses, and a “small claims court” to resolve routine disputes quickly.
In order to create jobs and raise wages, Brady’s Blueprint would, among other things, create a lower tax rate of 25 percent for most businesses; allow families and individuals to deduct half of the dividends, capital gains and interest they receive from stocks and mutual funds; allow full and immediate write-offs for business investments; lower corporate tax rates from the highest in the world to 20 percent; and eliminate the death tax.
In answer to questions from the chamber audience, Brady admitted that Democrats are hearing from their constituents about need for tax reform as well, and that his proposed plan is so big that support will be needed from both parties.
Brady's committee is also looking into Medicare reform and not taxing Social Security.
Asked about what chamber members could do, Brady suggested the chamber pass a resolution supporting his plan and educating small businesses and leaders about his proposals.
“Get the word out and then let us know what you think about this,” Brady said.
He then praised the Lake Houston Area Chamber for the suggestions they brought him in a meeting earlier this year.
“Chambers often squander their influence,” he said, “but the Lake Houston Chamber’s public affairs team had a well-thought-out, pro-business list of priorities.”
Brady encouraged the group to go to his website, kevinbrady.house.gov to learn more about his proposals and to comment on them.
“We’re not imposing but proposing,” Brady declared. “These are major changes. That’s why I want to hear from you.”
Carole Brady, executive director of Family Promise, a Lake Houston-area self-sufficiency program for homeless families with children, introduced her brother.
“I got a glimpse of Kevin’s tax plan in the pool on the Fourth of July,” Carole recalled. “I don’t usually get excited about tax plans, but I’ll have to admit this is impressive. I’m proud to call him my brother.”
At the beginning of the luncheon, Corinn Price of the presenting sponsor, Insperity, spoke about their fourth Kingwood building under construction.
“We’re bringing people from our JFK office back to the Kingwood campus,” she said. “We have the greatest admiration for Congressman Brady for his support for business, especially small business.”
County Judge Ed Emmett will discuss “State of the County” at the Lake Houston Chamber’s September luncheon Thursday, Sept. 29, at 11.30 a.m. at Walden on Lake Houston. Register at lakehouston.org.