Foreword: Letter to the Commission


    “Taxation without representation is tyranny.” Those are the words that helped to ignite the American revolution over two centuries ago.

As we approach the 21st century, the crescendo for tax reform continues to build, year after year, election after election. Americans have looked at a tax system constantly increasing in both rates and complexity, and concluded that taxation with representation wasn’t so good either.

The current tax system is indefensible. It is overly complex, burdensome, and severely limits economic opportunity for all Americans.

We made clear on the very first day of the 104th Congress that our top priority would be to change the status quo and to bring fundamental change to America. And we agreed that there is no status quo that needs more fundamental changing than our tax system.

We envision:

* A tax system that is fairer, flatter, and simpler.

* A tax system that promotes, rather than punishes, job creation.

* A tax system that eliminates unnecessary paperwork burdens on America’s businesses.

* A tax system that recognizes the fact that our families are performing the most important work of our society.

* A tax system that provides incentives for Americans who save for the future in order to build a better life for themselves and their families.

* A tax system that allows Americans, especially the middle-class, to keep more of what they earn, but that raises enough money to fund a leaner, more efficient federal government.

* A tax system that allows Americans to compute their taxes easily, without the need for a lawyer, an accountant – or both.

To help make this vision a reality, we named Jack Kemp, one of America’s most innovative thinkers on economic policy, to head the National Commission on Economic Growth and Tax Reform — a commission that included thirteen more outstanding Americans.

The entire commission worked diligently for the past several months, holding public hearings in eight cities, while constantly thinking about how to create a better tax system. Their final report is guaranteed to stimulate this important national dialogue. It will surely serve as a catalyst for congressional hearings and debate. We hope that it will also trigger conversations around kitchen tables, water coolers, and in town hall meetings across the country.

We invite all those who read this report to write us with your thoughts on its recommendations and conclusions, and to share with us other suggestions on how we can create a tax system that promotes economic growth and opportunity for all Americans.

Senate Leader Bob Dole
House Speaker Newt Gingrich