Athens Review, Athens, Texas

April 11, 2007

Congressman talks taxpayers’ rights in Athens

By Rich Flowers

U.S. Representative Jeb Hensarling met with members of the Athens Noon Kiwanis Club Tuesday to discuss an American Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

Hensarling said with the April 15 income tax filing deadline coming, Americans are feeling the bite of a federal government that over the past 50 years has taken an increasingly large chunk of the family income.

“The federal budget has outgrown the family budget over that period five to one. That’s unsustainable over time,” Hensarling said. “Conservatives believe if your budget is growing three or four percent why should the federal governments budget grow seven, eight or nine percent?” Hensarling said.

Hensarling said if Americans would pass a spending limitation amendment to the Constitution, Congress would be forced to make some hard decisions concerning where it spends the billions of dollars in tax revenues at its disposal each year.

“Out of the roughly 10,000 federal programs, spread over 600 agencies, we’ll start to make those decisions,” Hensarling said. Some of the programs funded today have outlived their usefulness, while others may have been conceived with good intentions but have failed to achieve their purpose, Hensarling said.

According to Hensarling, the taxpayer bill of rights has four points:

• Taxpayers have a right to have a federal government that does not grow beyond their ability to pay for it.

• Taxpayers have a right to receive back each dollar that they entrust to the government for their retirement.

• Taxpayers have a right to expect the government to balance the budget without having their taxes raised.

• Taxpayers have a right to a simple, fair tax code that they can understand.