Leo E. Linbeck Jr., is a construction mogul, head of one of Houston’s most powerful and civically involved families, and the founder and chairman of Americans for Fair Taxation, the non-profit organization that drafted the FairTax plan. The plan centers on the creation of a national sales tax and the abolition of the federal income tax and the Internal Revenue Service.
In his business life, Linbeck is the chairman and CEO of the Linbeck Corporation, a Houston-based construction conglomerate with offices nationwide. The company was founded by his father in 1938. Linbeck Jr., advanced to president and chief executive of the company in 1966.
The corporation is among the nation’s largest project managers and builders, with projects exceeding $1.2 billion in the past five fiscal years, according to Linbeck’s biography published by Texans for Lawsuit Reform, of which he is senior chairman.
Linbeck and his allies in promoting the FairTax have spent tens of millions researching and promoting the plan, which was introduced into Congress but has so far gained no lasting political traction. The plan, however, has a devoted group of advocates nationwide, which has been stoked in part by radio talk show host Neal Boortz.
Linbeck has argued that the current tax system buries taxpayers and businesses under an ocean of complex rules, with which Congress is forever tinkering in an effort to appease or punish various constituencies. Though the progressive federal income tax seeks to make the wealthy pay more than the poor, its complexity allows the rich to exploit loopholes and escape taxation, while hidden costs of taxation are passed on the poor in products they buy, he argues. The FairTax would levy the same sales tax on rich and poor, but provide rebates to offset any tax spending below the poverty.
Linbeck is a past chairman and director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and former director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas-Houston Branch.