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Eagle Forum Capitol Alert
READ:   The Hidden Meaning Of Marriage Tax Repeal
March 14, 2001

Marriage: A Taxing Affair 
Urge Congress to Provide Tax Relief for ALL Married Couples

ALERT Republicans and Democrats agree that the tax code unfairly penalizes marriage. Last year, President Clinton vetoed the bill that would have provided marriage tax relief to all married couples. The 107th Congress is drafting marriage tax relief legislation, but the White House tax plan undermines relief for all married couples.

The marriage tax is not verbally expressed as policy in any statute but is buried in the numbers. It is a consequence of the fact that our income tax tables treat a married couple as only 1.67 persons instead of two whole persons.

The White House executive summary of President Bush's tax-cut proposal calls for "reducing the marriage penalty by reinstating the 10 percent deduction for two-earner couples." Not only does this proposal give less relief than the bill passed by Congress last year but, even worse, it would impose a new homemaker penalty on one-earner couples. Under this tax plan, homemakers would still be considered two-thirds of a person.

Consider what the Bush marriage tax cut would accomplish after becoming fully operative. A married couple is struggling financially and needs more income to support the family. In one family, the wife takes a job and puts her children in daycare. This couple would get a marriage tax deduction, which chops as much as $990 off the family's federal income tax bill (at the new 33 percent top Bush tax rate). In addition, this couple qualifies for the existing tax credit for child-care expenses, which is worth up to $960.

Consider another family where the husband takes a second job so his wife can care for their children at home. This family would not qualify for either the new Bush marriage tax relief or the child-care credit that exists in current law. The husband and wife surely work just as hard in this second family as in the first. Why should they pay up to $1,950 more in taxes on the same family income?

The marriage penalty in the tax code is an immoral policy whether one or both spouses earn the family income. Giving a tax cut only to two-earner couples would send the radical feminist message that the government sees no value in a homemaker's work at home, and that the role of a "non-working" wife and mother is less worthy than paid employment.

Tell the Members of the Ways and Means committee that:

  1. All married couples with the same family income should be taxed equally, and 
  2. Marriage tax relief legislation should be the next stand-alone tax bill voted on by the committee.

Reaching Chairman Thomas at the Ways and Means Committee (202-225-3625) is especially vital.

Target List: Kevin Brady, Camp, Mac Collins, Dunn, English, Foley, Hayworth, Herger, Houghton, Hulshof, Nancy Johnson, Sam Johnson, Ron Lewis, McCrery, McInnis, Nussle, Portman, Ramstad, Paul Ryan, Shaw, Thomas, Watkins, Weller  

Contact info for Ways and Means Committee can be found here.

Capitol Switchboard 202-224-3121

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