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Are your taxes fair? Increasingly, Americans say no.

On Monday, both sides in the ideological battle over spending and taxes are seeking to reinforce the divide – with a 'red tape tower' and a federal taxpayer receipt.

By Staff writer / April 15, 2013

An Illinois Department of Revenue employee offers assistance to income tax payers at the Illinois Department of Revenue, in Springfield, Ill., April 2012.

Seth Perlman/AP

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This April 15, fewer Americans feel their tax bills are fair, while Republicans and the White House are continuing their battle over the merits of federal spending.

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A new Gallup poll found that 55 percent of Americans think the federal income taxes they pay are fair. This is the lowest fairness grade the polling firm has found since 2001, and it's down from the 59 percent who said their tax bills were fair in 2012. But the decline from last year, while part of a general downward trend since 2003, is within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

Income level does not affect whether a person sees his or her taxes as fair, Gallup analyst Jeffrey Jones wrote. “The biggest differences are based on political affiliation, with Democrats and political liberals much more likely than Republicans and conservatives to believe their taxes were fair,” Mr. Jones said. For the current tax year, 70 percent of liberals, 59 percent of moderates, and 45 percent of conservatives believed the taxes they paid were fair.

On Monday, both sides in the ideological battle sought to reinforce the divide by presenting their cases on tax-funded spending. House Speaker John Boehner’s office posted a video of the speaker standing next to a “red tape tower” of regulations that's 20,000 pages high and seven feet tall. The tax code amounts to four such towers, he said. 

“Our tax code is a headache for families and workers, and it’s a nightmare for small business owners,” Mr. Boehner said. “That is why Republicans want to fix it.”

A more aggressive tax day message came from the National Republican Congressional Committee, which is charged with keeping the House in Republican hands in 2014. NRCC rapid response director Matt Gorman wrote, “As Americans file their taxes, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and their liberal allies are already writing their wasteful spending wish lists full of robo-squirrels, climate change musicals, and NASA video games.” The items Mr. Gorman cited were included in the “Wastebook 2012” from Sen. Tom Coburn (R) of Oklahoma.

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