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Column: Congressional candidate introduces initial public policy proposals


ROCHESTER — I have released the first in a series of public policy proposals I will be unveiling in the weeks and months ahead as the campaign develops.

I am running for Congress because I believe America’s best days are ahead of us, but we have real problems that must be addressed if we are to renew America’s greatness. In order to make an informed decision about who is best able accomplish this renewal, I believe the voters deserve to know what the candidates stand for beyond a 30-second sound bite or 140-character tweet.

Therefore, in the weeks and months ahead, I will be unveiling The Benson Plan, which will outline my approach to the public policy issues facing our nation. The first component of this plan concerns Tax Policy & Reform — an area in critical need of attention if we are to ensure America’s greatness for future generations.

As your next Congressman, I will work hard to make sure that reforming our overly complex tax code is a top priority of Congress. If done properly, tax reform will stimulate real economic growth as businesses and individuals will be able to keep more of what they earn to expand, invest, spend or save for the future.

Advocating real tax reform is more than just an excuse to make an ideological point. It is about a comprehensive examination and overhaul of how we collect taxes in this country. This plan is a start, and represents the sort of common sense policies I will work for in Congress.

My plans for Tax Policy & Reform:

* Work towards a flat tax. The goal would be to lower the effective tax rate for everyone. A first incremental step would be to equalize the effect of itemized deductions in excess of the standard deduction. This gives us a practical road map to achieving a system that is fair, stable and actually lowers effective rates for everyone.

* Interest income should have preferred tax status to encourage savings. Encouraging savings will give Americans the opportunity to maximize the hard earned fruits of their labor.

* Married couple allowable capital loss per year should be twice the single amount. Under the current system, this is a significant penalty for married couples.

* Allowable capital loss per year should be increased. We all know companies usually run losses during the start-up phase before they reach profitability. Let’s encourage entrepreneurs to create real private sector jobs by giving them incentives to endure early losses. This will also encourage existing businesses to reinvest and expand, creating even more jobs.

* Social Security thresholds for taxation should be raised and indexed to inflation. This will help prevent low-income seniors from paying federal income tax.

* Lower the threshold for deducting medical expenses to help middle class families.

* Eliminate the estate tax. People should be allowed to pass along the fruits of their labor how they see fit.

* Allow health savings accounts for any health care plan (or at least high-deductible plans).

* Reduce the corporate tax rate. Reducing America’s high rate would take away the incentive for corporations to shelter income overseas as well as help create jobs.

What’s the Walz Plan? He has none, other than voting lockstep with Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama. Tim Walz’s failure to address tax policy as a way to help middle class families and businesses to stimulate true economic growth is one of the most important reasons he needs to be replaced.

Minnesota District 22B Rep. Mike Benson is seeking the Republican endorsement for U.S. 1st District Representative.