Congressman Bill Pascrell

Representing the 9th District of NEW JERSEY

Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act of 2008

Sep 24, 2008
Floor Speech

 

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   Mr. PASCRELL. Madam Speaker, the legislation we have before us today arises at a time when our American workers are suffering under a failing housing market and struggling financial market. I want to commend Mr. Neal and Mr. Reynolds for being advocates for this, not just yesterday, but through the past many years. This is an injustice on the middle class in America. We know it very clearly.

   I want to commend you, Mr. Neal, for trying to get this done on a permanent basis and paying for it. The sin of this administration is trying to provide tax relief for folks and not finding a way to pay for it. Now we see what situation we are in. Kudos to you. You stuck to your guns.

   The economic burden on the American worker is enormous, and it should compel us to take a bold and affirmative stand on serving their best interests today. As a proud cosponsor of H.R. 7005, the AMT Tax Relief Act of 2008, I want to also thank our distinguished colleague, Chairman Rangel, for bringing it to the floor.

   We must remind ourselves that the impact on the AMT as it currently stands will continue to harm the wrong taxpayer. The AMT no longer targets just wealthy taxpayers engaged in tax avoidance. Instead, it targets the unintended taxpayer, the middle class family.

   The AMT is not adjusted for inflation. In the absence of an indexing provision, it is largely responsible for the rising numbers of middle class taxpayers subject to the AMT.

   Filers in high-tax States are more likely to face the AMT to a surprising degree. In my State, the State of New Jersey, one of the three highest ranking States in terms of AMT filers, in my home State of New Jersey, $800 million in AMT taxes were paid last year. The three States of New Jersey, New York and California account for 40 percent of the country's 3.15 million AMT returns, just those three States. You tell me about justice in the tax system.

   Texas, a State with 200 percent larger population than New Jersey, has roughly half the number of AMT filers.

   The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.

   Mr. NEAL of Massachusetts. I yield 1 additional minute to the gentleman.

   Mr. PASCRELL. Texas, mind you, with a 200 percent larger population than the State of New Jersey, has roughly half the number of folks who file for the AMT. This is simply not an equitable tax system. It is very clear to all of us on Ways and Means, it is clear to the American people. More and more become eligible, and they have to be informed by those people who do their taxes, ``oh, by the way, you are susceptible to the AMT.'' ``What are you talking about?''

   This administration has consistently ignored the tough issues. We could have dealt with the AMT permanently if this administration had taken tax reform seriously. But they refused to sit down with this Congress to have these important discussions. Now we need to take a stand and make these significant changes. In a week we will have to take many stands, because we allowed things to get worse.

   I urge all my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote ``yes'' on the extension of the AMT relief for 2008.

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