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Tax Day Brings Annual Flood Of Reform Ideas


WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, April 15) -- It's Tax Day. If this is news to you, quit your Web browser and fire up your tax program now. If it's not, you may continue.

To mark the day, a series of protests will be held, speeches will be made and Congress will vote on several measures that would change the tax system, all rites as annual as the tax forms themselves.

"April 15th is a miserable day for most Americans," says Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.). "What we want to make it is a day the American people say, 'Yes, we can too aspire to make the American dream without the oppressive burden of federal taxes.'"

The most dramatic tax proposal before Congress today is in the House, a constitutional amendment that would require a two-thirds vote in each chamber to increase taxes. The bill is being pushed hard by the GOP leadership, but they are an estimated 50 votes shy of the two-thirds margin the measure needs to proceed. Last year, a vote on the measure fell 37 votes short.


Another bill would make it a crime for Internal Revenue Service employees to browse through tax files. IRS staff could get up to a year in prison and $1,000 in fines if they do so without proper authorization. This bill, popular even with the IRS, is expected to glide through the House and Senate today.

The third is a non-binding House resolution that declares that Congress and the president should try to cooperate to reduce taxes permanently for American families.

But not all the action is in Congress. Tax reform groups are gathering just across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House in Lafayette Park for a "Taxpayer Day of Outrage Rally."

The real tax day might be considered not April 15, but May 9. That's the point at which the Tax Foundation estimates the average American earns enough to fulfill his or her annual tax burden for the year.

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