22nd Alaska State Legislature
Information from Senator Loren Leman (R)
District G - Anchorage

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State Capitol, Room 516
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Phone: (907) 465-2095
Fax: (907) 465-3810

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716 W 4th Avenue, Suite 520
Anchorage, AK 99501-2133
Phone: (907) 269-0240
Fax: (907) 269-0242

Sponsor Statement for SJR 12
Eliminate Marriage Tax Penalty

Urging the United States Congress to amend the Tax Code to reduce the marriage tax penalty.

Contact: Paul Roetman, Legislative Aide to Senator Loren Leman, at (907) 465-3712.

Last Updated: February 2, 2001

SJR 12 expresses the Legislature's support for reducing the imbalance in the federal Tax Code that taxes married couples disproportionately more than unmarried couples earning the same level of income.

The marriage penalty impacts millions of married couples. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), under current tax laws married couples pay an average of $1,480 more in taxes each year than two unmarried people.

The two primary penalties are the standard deduction and the graduated rate structure. First, the standard deduction amount for joint filers is not twice that for those claiming single status. This means an unmarried couple can deduct more from their income than a married couple. Second, income rate structures that push taxpayers into higher brackets are less than twice for joint filers than for those claiming single status. This means that a married couple may be forced into a higher tax bracket before an unmarried couple earning the same combined income.

Congress attempted to deal with the marriage penalty last year when it passed the " Marriage Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2000." This would have provided tax relief to married couples penalized under current tax laws, but President Clinton vetoed the measure. Because President Bush and his Cabinet have expressed strong support for reducing taxes, Congress should revisit the marriage penalty.

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