A guide to political news, commentary and resources in Southwest Virginia
Rep. Goode's weekly report
War and taxes
By Virgil Goode, I-5th District
May 24 -- As Memorial Day approaches, every citizen of the United States should take a few moments to give thanks to the men and women who have served valiantly in the course of defending this nation and advancing the cause of freedom around the world. Many of our military personnel have given their lives in this effort, and we must never forget that we are free because they paid the ultimate price.
This year, we owe a special debt of gratitude to the men and women who are serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. Terrorist groups, such as the Taliban and Al-Quaida, declared war on the United States on September 11th. Because of the dedicated work of our military, the primary theatre of engagement is now in the Middle East and not on the shores of our country. If our troops had not removed the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, the terrorists would have had two nations in which they could operate with impunity and with state-sponsored support to plot, plan and mastermind another event like September 11th on our country. I want to take this opportunity to pay a special tribute to Lt. Col. William R. Watkins, III, of Halifax County and Sergeant Michael Dooley of Bedford County. These two Fifth District residents gave their lives fighting terrorism on behalf of America in the Middle East
Recently, the House of Representatives adopted legislation to make permanent the repeal of the marriage tax penalty. By repealing this tax, married couples will have double the standard deduction of a single person on their federal income taxes. If repeal is not made permanent, at the end of this year, married couples will return to paying more than if they were two single persons living together.
The bill passed 306-to-97, and one of the strongest advocacy groups for passage of the repeal was the National Taxpayers Union (NTU). In a letter from the NTU’s Director of Government Relations, Paul Gessing, pointed out that before the marriage tax penalty was partially eliminated in 2001 (and relief was accelerated in 2003), the marriage penalty had an adverse impact on over 40 percent of all married couples. The penalty was often steep, especially for two-income couples where both incomes were roughly equal. In fact, Mr. Gessing pointed out, the average extra tax bill for these couples before was $1,400, but the additional tax burden sometimes rose as high as $20,000. The harsh impact of the marriage penalty was due in part to the punitive nature of the federal Tax Code. Combining the incomes of a married couple for tax accounting purposes pushed many of them into the next tax bracket, thereby triggering higher taxes each year.
The NTU also agreed with the position that I have taken since the first vote to repeal the marriage penalty tax three years ago, that putting more money into consumers’ pockets is one of the best ways to simulate and expand the U. S. economy. I hope that the Senate acts quickly on this repeal measure. Not to do so would be to restore an unfair tax burden on American families.
Please keep in touch with me on issues that are important to you. You may write Congressman Virgil Goode, 70 East Court Street, Room 215, Rocky Mount, VA 24151; or fax to 1-540-484-1459; or call toll-free to the Danville office, 1-800-535-4008 or via e-mail.