Tax reform and spending cuts are keys

Published 8:15 pm Saturday, December 1, 2012

By Rep. Randy Forbes

The term “fiscal cliff’ was coined by Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, in early 2012, when he testified before Congress, saying, “Under current law, on Jan. 1, 2013, there is going to be a massive fiscal cliff of large spending cuts and tax increases.” The phrase quickly gained popularity as a useful catch-all to describe a combination of year-end policy events, including significant impending tax increases, sharp sequestration budget cuts and the expiration of several stop-gap provisions ranging from doctors’ reimbursements to unemployment benefits.

Today, the term “fiscal cliff” dominates the local headlines, national news and blogosphere. But what exactly is the fiscal cliff, and how does it impact you?

Email newsletter signup

As we look to avert the fiscal cliff, I believe options to increase revenue streams without raising taxes and options to enact serious spending cuts should be put on the table and analyzed by both parties. Here is where I stand:

  • On taxes and revenue: The best way to preserve jobs and protect the middle class is to increase revenues through tax reform, rather than through tax rate increases. Raising tax rates overall will hurt small businesses and destroy jobs — a result neither Democrats nor Republicans want. I believe there is common ground, however, when it comes to tax reform, and I am eager to work with my Democrat colleagues to find it.
  • On spending: America has spent too much, not taxed too little. Any tax reform must be accompanied by serious, thoughtful spending cuts that preserve national security and needed federal programs. Again, there is common ground here.
  • Overall: My door is open to any colleague — Democrat, Republican, or Independent — to work together, to brainstorm, to share ideas with and to begin substantive negotiations to implement a framework to put America back on a path to financial stability. We might not agree on everything, but we can agree to get this done.

These are my thoughts, but I want to hear yours as well. Weigh in on my blog, take my instapoll, join the discussion on Facebook or e-mail me. Your voice is important. I look forward to hearing from you.

U.S. Rep. J. Randy Forbes represents Virginia’s Fourth District, which includes Suffolk, in the U.S. House of Representatives. Visit his web page at