Like many people from western and central Wisconsin, I believe our tax code is overly complex and confusing. What our country needs instead is a code that is simplified and fair for hardworking families and small businesses. As a member of the tax-writing House Committee on Ways & Means, I get to be at the forefront of all tax policy discussions. In the 113th Congress I will have the opportunity to thoroughly examine the tax code and help lead the effort to reform it to make it fairer for Wisconsinites and all Americans.


It has been clear to me for quite a while that the tax code is not benefiting middle class Americans the way it should.

  • From 2000 to 2008 the average income of the top 400 taxpayers increased 24%, while the average income of all other taxpayers fell 5.9%.
  • In 2008, one-third of the top 400 taxpayers paid an effective federal income tax rate of less than 15%, the average federal income tax rate of the top 400 was 18.1%.  This is about the same rate that a single taxpayer making just under $84,000 of adjusted gross income would pay.

This obvious disparity for average working class Americans is unjust. That is why I am focused on simplifying tax laws and the ensuring that IRS treatment of taxpayers who are financially struggling during the economic downturn is fair.  I am eager to work within the Ways & Means Committee and with the Obama Administration on tax simplification and taxpayer assistance, particularly for taxpayers who are facing financial difficulties during this recession.

Small Businesses & Farmers

When I was appointed to the Ways & Means Committee, I decided early on to focus much of my work on issues and concerns relating to small businesses. I did this for the simple fact that western Wisconsin is home to a large number farms and small businesses. In fact, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), 52% of Wisconsin’s workforce is employed by small businesses, a rate much higher than national average. Small businesses are the engine of our economy and its stability depends on their success. That is why I have been pursuing my Small Business Agenda , which includes several pieces of tax legislation that would benefit small businesses by providing for easier access to health care, better savings opportunities for employers, and modernizing the tax code for small businesses.

Click here to see my small business agenda.

Click here to visit my Small Business Resource Center.