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As Congress returns this fall, we will be undertaking tax reform. My constituents made it very clear to me: current tax policy is hurting them and they need relief now. They want taxes to be simpler and rates to be lowered meaningfully. Unfortunately, the debate has not fully begun and the issue has already been politicized with opponents claiming that tax reform will only help big business and top earners in our country. The truth is that the Republican tax reform plan focuses on all Americans, especially those families working hard to pay their bills each month, families like the one I grew up in.

My dad worked on the line at General Motors and my mom most often held a full-time job. They worked tirelessly to provide for me and my six brothers and sisters. Despite their best efforts, it was often difficult to make ends meet. I am sorry to say that many years later things have not improved for many Americans.

A recent United Way report suggests that 40 percent of Michigan residents cannot afford basic necessities. I know how difficult this is for a family, because I have lived it. A bit of extra money in a paycheck would have changed our lives, and would undoubtedly change the lives of many families working hard to “get ahead”.

Too many families have not seen the benefits of our slow economic recovery, but real tax reform can offer concrete help. The House Republican plan will lower the tax rate for the very individuals who need it most – the working middle class.

Still, tax rates are only a part of the picture. The current tax code is too complicated, too costly and too time consuming for most families to understand and file their taxes. Combined, Americans spend $99 billion and 2.6 billion hours each year filing individual income tax returns. People should know how much of their paycheck they keep in their pockets when they are paid, rather than hope for a tax refund at the end of the year. House Republicans are working to fix that.

Our goal is to simplify taxes and allow the majority of Americans to file taxes using a simple postcard-style system. This would not only make it easier and cheaper to file taxes, but it would also make our system fairer by eliminating special interest deductions that keep rates artificially high for all taxpayers, and fail to benefit those who need it most.

These additional savings would help many families who would benefit immensely from extra money in their pockets. I am happy to say that we are at least one step closer to making this a reality: the House Republican Tax Reform Blueprint is projected to increase median household income in Michigan by $4,716, and create over 50,000 new full time jobs.

By easing the tax burden on business owners, especially small business owners, we give them the possibility to invest more into their businesses — meaning that they can expand their businesses and hire more workers. In fact, a recent poll of small business owners by the Job Creators Network shows that most business owners would reinvest their tax savings in their businesses in the form of wage hikes, new jobs, and expansion.

With better jobs, better wages, and less taxes, Americans can take home bigger paychecks and better support their families. Growth, and true economic relief for all Americans is possible if we ease the tax burdens that have been placed on workers and our economy by achieving real tax reform.

Rep. Paul Mitchell represents Michigan’s 10th Congressional district.

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