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As Americans, what motivates us to get out of bed in the morning? It’s an important question to ask. We all want an opportunity to get ahead, and a brighter future for our kids. We also want to know there isn’t a “catch” — that everyone can achieve the American Dream, no strings attached.

Whether we consider this from the perspective of a family of four in Lake Orion or a shop owner in Lansing, the reality is most Americans don’t have the necessary assurance to plan ahead. But today we can do something about it. Congress has a responsibility to fix our broken tax code and make it fair and simple for all Americans. In the U.S. House of Representatives, our plan begins with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

We start by simplifying the number of tax brackets from seven to four — 12 percent, 25 percent, 35 percent, and 39.6 percent — with adjusted, fairer income levels for each. This is welcome news for low-income earners who are struggling to make ends meet, many of whom would now be moved to the zero-percent bracket.

Building on this, our plan delivers much-needed relief to middle-income Americans. We double the Standard Deduction from $6,350 to $12,000 for individuals and $12,700 to $24,000 for families. That means a single worker bringing in $67,000, the average annual income in Michigan’s Eighth District, would only have to pay federal income taxes on $55,000. Simply put, more of your income is actually yours to keep — and more money in your pocket means more freedom to spend it how you want.

The bill establishes a Family Flexibility Credit, which enhances the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $1,600 per child, in addition to a $300 credit for each parent and non-child dependent — so families can have a little help with their day-to-day expenses. It’s also about saving time and money during tax season. By some estimates, Americans spend nearly two days-worth of work filing their returns each year. Our proposal simplifies today’s maze, making it so easy that nine out of 10 Americans could file their taxes on a form that fits on a postcard.

Job creators are a pivotal part of this, as well. Local employees have reiterated to me the need to lower rates and simplify the code. So we permanently cut the corporate tax rate to 20 percent and the pass-through rate to 25 percent — so America can finally compete and win again. Consider the manufacturer in Brighton being taxed at a total of 54.75 percent today. Two new machines on their floor would cost them nearly $1 million. For that reason, immediate expensing of all capital investments, including machinery, is also included.

We want our local job creators to expand their operations, increase wages and hire more of our neighbors. That’s how you grow an economy from the ground up. With this plan our economy can finally reach its true potential. For details on all of this and more, visit www.fairandsimple.gop.

“It’s morning again in America,” Reagan once said. We have the potential for that again today. Tax reform is about giving hardworking Americans the confidence they need to make their dreams a reality. That’s exactly the kind of motivation that gets every American out of bed in the morning.

Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, represents Michigan’s 8th district and is a member of the tax-writing Committee on Ways and Means.

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