Opinion Pieces

Like the Status Quo on Taxes? I Don’t.

By Congressman Scott Perry

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Washington, January 8, 2018 | comments
Our Tax Code has grown to more than 70,000 pages since it was last reformed more than 30 years ago. Washington and its special interest allies have added dozens of loopholes, but made the Code too complicated and expensive for working families. At the same time, we’ve watched good-paying jobs and U.S. companies move to countries with more competitive tax systems.

For these reasons – and a few more - I supported the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which ultimately creates the framework to launch our economy into the modern era – something we owe not only to working families and small businesses, but also to future generations of Americans. The bill closes unfair loopholes, lowers tax rates, simplifies the Tax Code, and repeals the Affordable Care Act’s Individual Mandate that punishes Americans for declining to buy health insurance they can’t afford or don’t want. It lets our businesses compete on a fair and level playing field for the first time in a generation.

Under the Plan, every bracket will see a tax reduction; that means a household of four earning the median family income of $73,000 could receive a tax cut of $2,059 – so they can keep their money for what they want, rather than shipping it to Washington. It also doubles the standard deduction (from $6,500 to $13,000 for individuals and $12,000 to $24,000 for married couples), expands family-focused tax benefits, and throws out many special interest loopholes.

The final version of the bill also keeps existing benefits for grad students, expands the medical expense deduction, expands the teacher supply credit, and leaves the Mortgage Interest Deduction in place for homes that cost under $750,000.

Even better, 90% of Americans could be able to file their taxes on a form the size of a postcard; presently, our rigged Tax Code collectively forces 90% of us to spend about 7 billion hours and $15 billion just to comply with it.

The Plan reduces the tax burden on American businesses of all sizes – which allows them to invest more in our communities. At 35%, the U.S. has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the industrialized world: Mexico – 20%; United Kingdom – 19%; Canada – 15%. No wonder our companies have been fleeing the U.S., taking quality, family-sustaining jobs with them. The Plan reduces the corporate tax rate to 21% beginning January 2018. Instead of encouraging companies to seek a better tax break or more loopholes, now we can encourage them to create better jobs right here in our communities. For small businesses, the Plan provides a 20% deduction on taxable income up to $315,000, which will leave the effective tax rate at no more than 29.6%.

The Plan also preserves economic tools like the New Market Tax Credit and Historic Tax Credit, which increase investments in communities like the Cities of York and Harrisburg.

Let’s not forget that in the hope of comprehensive tax reform alone, the economy is up over 20% since November 2016, the Stock Market closed at record highs over 70 times in 2017, and the U.S. economy grew 4% GDP in the final quarter of this year. We now have the highest consumer confidence rate and lowest unemployment rate in 17 years. The economy’s added about 2 million jobs in the last year alone. We had to deliver - and we did.

I fully recognize tradeoffs had to be made – no plan is perfect. I’ve consistently voted to reduce federal spending – to include several balanced budgets. In this Plan, I advocated for spending cuts that, in conjunction with greater economic growth, would’ve reduced our national debt; while I lost that fight, I felt strongly that the long-term benefits of tax relief merited my YES vote.

Liberal and progressive groups and many of their media supporters continue their quest to pit Americans against each other with the “giveaway to the wealthy” rhetoric – completely disregarding the facts – these same individuals/groups conveniently complain about our national debt now that President Trump is in office, but oddly were silent when President Obama roughly doubled our national debt over his 8 years in office. Simply put, the Plan closes and reforms many tax loopholes for wealthy individuals and corporations, and it enforces corporate responsibility by including rules to prevent companies from concealing taxable income. It’s an investment in the future of the American People.

The Plan will deliver more jobs, fairer taxes, and bigger paychecks for individuals, families and small business owners across the Country. It’ll help us break free from the economic conditions we’ve grown accustomed to over the last few years - slow-growth, stagnant wages and jobs fleeing overseas. Too many people have been squeezed under the current system and it’s time for much-needed relief. A strong and vibrant economy benefits all of us.
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