Green River Star -

By Mike Enzi
U.S. Senator 

How the Senate tax reform bill could change your life

 

December 13, 2017



If you were to wish for a tax reform bill, would you want lower taxes across the board and more money in people’s pockets? Would you want reforms that simplify taxes?

Reforms that help grow the economy and create more jobs? Help small businesses in our communities thrive? Encourage companies to create jobs in America instead of going overseas? And for companies that do business around the world, get them to invest their money back in the United States?

The Senate’s tax reform proposal does all this and more. That is not what you might be hearing from critics who are afraid passage of the pro-growth bill could hurt them politically, and unfortunately some opinion leaders across the country and in our state seem to have bought into this negative narrative. I encourage you to take a closer look for yourself. This legislation would finally modernize our outdated tax code. And all of these important changes are really part of one singular purpose — to help improve the lives of millions of hardworking American families.

If you are a couple in Gillette, married with two kids, you might say, “That sounds great and all, but what does that really mean to me?” Well, according to the last analysis of the bill by the Tax Foundation, it could mean tax savings of 20 percent, or $2,254 each year. That means more money to spend on what your family needs.

The Senate bill does this by reducing taxes on average in every tax bracket, almost doubling the standard deduction (which creates a larger “zero” tax bracket for low-income individuals and increases many people’s tax refunds), doubling the child tax credit to $2,000 to help struggling families and many more helpful changes.

That does not even include the benefits a family might see from a stronger economy, which would boost wages. Along with individual tax relief, this bill would provide tax relief to American businesses to help them thrive. Businesses are the economy’s job-creating engines, and a recent survey of roughly 200 CEOS found that 82 percent of them said tax reform would lead to increased hiring and capital spending. Moreover, the Senate bill would deliver tax relief to tens of thousands of small businesses in Wyoming, who provide most of the jobs in our communities.

Some may ask ‘why did this happen so quickly?’ Well actually, the Senate has been working on updating our tax code for a long time. The Senate Finance Committee has held more than 70 hearings on improving the tax code over the last six years, and in the previous Congress, the Finance Committee organized working groups of Republicans and Democrats to propose changes to the tax code. We began planting this crop a long time ago, but many lawmakers, even some who helped us in the field, are now complaining that the harvest appeared overnight and isn’t to their liking.

Whenever you cut taxes, which is essentially the source of the government’s revenue, you would expect that the government would take in less money, which raises fears of an increased federal deficit or debt. Our debt is already more than $20 trillion – a fact we can’t ignore. But we don’t live in a vacuum. When you give taxes back to people, they spend that money, and that helps grow the economy, which can help increase government revenue. Recently, a group of more than 130 economists said: “The enactment of a comprehensive overhaul – complete with a lower corporate tax rate – will ignite our economy with levels of growth not seen in generations.”

But ultimately, we know that increased revenues are not going to solve all our problems because Washington’s real problem isn’t revenue – Washington has a spending problem. Tax reform can help create a stronger economy, but without fiscal restraint we are never going to control our debt. Washington is the only place where if an increase in spending over the last year isn’t as big as requested, it is considered a cut, even though they get more money.

Whenever you are working to change the way Washington works, especially when it comes to money, you are going to have those in opposition supporting their own agenda and special interests. But no matter how loudly people yell or how many times other people repeat their talking points, it doesn’t make them right.

So to be clear, the Senate bill does not cut Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security or education funding. It does not just help the rich. It does not throw 13 million Americans off their health insurance. Furthermore, Senate Democrats were not cut out of the process. And under the Senate bill, teachers’ deduction for classroom expenses is not cut – it’s actually doubled – and taxes would not be raised on graduate students’ tuitions.

Currently, the Senate and the House are working together to iron out the differences between their tax reform proposals. But I am confident that under the final bill, people can expect to see more money in their pockets and a stronger economy. The legislation is truly about making a better future for our country. It is rooted in the ideal that Americans, not the federal government, know best how to spend their hard-earned money.

 

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