Bob Martin doesn’t mind paying taxes. As a pharmacist at Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire, the Lake Hallie resident said he is paid a good salary and is glad to pay taxes.
But, he said: “I shouldn’t have to pay someone $400 to do them.”
Martin said the Fair Tax Act of 2011 would change that, revitalize the nation’s economy and spur the creation of thousands of jobs, if not more.
The Fair Tax is still a tax, and it wouldn’t affect state income taxes.
But instead of paying a federal income and payroll tax, people would pay what amounts to 23 percent federal sales tax. That would translate into a paying a 30 percent sales tax at the store.
In return, there would be no federal tax on buying used items, including houses and cars.
“A used house, a used car, a used anything is only taxed once,” he said.
Every household would receive what’s called a prebate, to insure families earning less than the poverty line can offset the tax. For example, a family of four earning $29,140 would get a $565 prebate a month.
Martin, the state director of the Americans for Fair Taxation, spelled out the reasons he supports the Fair Tax at a gathering of supporters at the Fill-Inn Station in Chippewa Falls on Wednesday.
Martin became interested in the Fair Tax after someone gave him a book written on it by radio talk show host Neil Boortz, who is based in Atlanta. Martin then got talking about it while playing golf with Eric Nelson of Eau Claire, who was also interested in the idea.
Nelson is now the group’s director in the Third Congressional District. Jerry Nielsen of Cadott holds the same title for the 7th Congressional District.
Martin said the Fair Tax movement is not affiliated with a political party and is supported by both Republicans and Democrats.
“Check your colors at the door. This is tax reform,” he said, although he admits more Republican lawmakers support the idea than Democrats.
He said the Fair Tax eliminates Capital Gains and Corporate income taxes. But it raises the same revenue of the current tax system.
“It makes our exports much more competitive,” he said. And it could convince companies with offshore operations to move some of their money back to the U.S., creating more jobs, he said. (Under the current system, those companies would be taxed at 35 percent to move their foreign profits back to the U.S.)
“America would become the biggest tax haven in the world,” Martin said.
The Fair Tax is fair, transparent and simple, he said. The 132 page Fair Tax bill would replace over 72,000 pages of tax code.
Plus, Martin said people engaging in the underground economy would finally have to pay a federal tax when they buy things.
However, Martin has not received encouraging reactions from his Congressional representatives.
Martin has repeatedly reached out to Republican U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Ashland), who represents the 7th Congressional District, to share his ideas about Fair Tax, but he has yet to hear a response from Duffy's offices.
Martin said he did talk with U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-La Crosse), who represents the Third Congressional District. But Martin said Kind sticks to talking points about the current tax system.
That has not discouraged Martin.
“We all think this is a good idea to get this country on its feet,” he said.