U.S. Rep. Bridenstine calls for tax overhaul at town hall meeting in Bixby
About 1,300 enthusiasts for doing something - anything - about the federal tax code turned out to hear from fair-taxer Neal Boortz and flat-taxer Wayne Brough at the SpiritBank Event Center on Tuesday night.
Sponsored by U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., the program also included tax attorney and law professor Dennis Bires and KRMG radio personality Rick Couri.
The event was part political rally, part social event. Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett and former Mayor Bill LaFortune, whose wife, Kathy LaFortune, is on Bridenstine's staff, sat on the front row. So did a legislative contingent of other area Republicans and Labor Commissioner Mark Costello.
Boortz, a nationally syndicated talk show host, received the longest and loudest ovation. Long an advocate of the "Fair Tax" - essentially a national sales tax that would replace all other federal taxes - Boortz told his audience early on that it was "time to get the pitchforks and torches."
He was talking specifically about the state's income tax - "There's no excuse for a state to have an income tax," Boortz said - but the comment applied more generally, too. More than an hour into the program, Boortz summed up by saying: "We need another revolution. This could be the revolution."
Bridenstine also received a standing ovation and managed to fit all sorts of issues - including the Affordable Care Act, monetary policy and personal savings - into the discussion.
"There is a thirst for an overhaul of the tax code, but it's going to take a host of people to get involved," Bridenstine said.
"I've been astonished at how much is at stake in our current tax code," the 1st District congressman continued.
"I can give a speech on the floor of the House, and literally by the time I get to my office there are lobbyists in my office questioning about (the speech) as to how it relates to the tax code."
Brough, chief economist for Freedomworks, a conservative organization associated in recent years with the tea party movement, made the case for a flat income tax rather than a national sales tax.
"The current tax code is so complex (that) we need to tear up the tax code, get rid of the IRS and start all over," Brough said.
If railing against the tax code and the Internal Revenue Service are not new, neither are the Fair Tax or the flat tax. Both ideas have been around for decades. But proponents think conditions might be right in the roiling Congress for the kind of revolution Boortz and Brough have been fomenting.
"The collusion between politicians and special interests creates an unholy alliance where the only people who feel like they have representation in Washington, D.C., these days are the people with big dollars," Bridenstine said.
This article is published here.