SEN. THOM TILLIS & REP. RICHARD HUDSON: Tax reforms are the change North Carolinians deserve

Posted January 7, 2018 5:00 a.m. EST

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sen. Thom Tillis, former Speaker of the N.C. House of Representatives, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014. U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson represents the Eighth Congressional District. Both are Republicans.

We thank CBC for the opportunity to set the record straight on their recent editorials on the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, the tax reform legislation that passed Congress. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, it’s important that we don’t allow opinions to supersede facts, and there is a lot to clarify.

First off, let’s be clear that tax reform means tax relief for middle-class families. A vast majority of Americans (roughly 80%, according to the left-leaning Tax Policy Center) will have their taxes cut this year. If you don’t believe us, starting in just a few short weeks, the proof will be in people’s bigger paychecks.  Additionally, analysis from the bipartisan Joint Committee on Taxation shows tax reform will cut taxes for hard-working Americans at all income levels. The typical family of four earning the median family income of $73,000 will receive a tax break of $2,059.

It's disappointing that CBC’s editorial misleadingly claims that tax reform legislation will lead to higher taxes on middle-class families by 2027. The claim completely lacks the key context behind the numbers.

Here’s the proper context. Congress used the reconciliation process to pass tax reform, which requires Congressional authorization to extend the tax cuts in future years. The figures CBC’s editorial cited assume that Congress would elect not to extend the tax cuts, which would effectively serve as a tax hike on the vast majority of Americans. There is not a single Republican who voted in favor of the tax reform legislation – including us – who would not be in favor of extending the tax cuts before they expire. The real question is whether the Democrats who just voted against tax cuts for middle-class families will vote to raise taxes on those same families in a few years, or will they instead join Republicans in making that much-needed tax relief permanent?

Additionally, CBC’s editorials insist that the tax bill shifts the tax burden from the wealthiest to the poorest of Americans. This isn’t supported by data, which demonstrates the tax burden will actually shift more to the wealthiest Americans. The Joint Committee on Taxation projects that in 2019, the total tax burden for Americans making more than $100,000 a year will increase from 78.7% to 79.1% share of the federal income taxes paid to the government. The total tax burden for Americans making $20,000 to $50,000 a year will decrease from a 4.3% to a 4.1% share.  Additionally, projections, again from the left-leaning Tax Policy Center, show that starting next year the number of Americans with zero or negative tax burden will jump from 43.4 percent to 45.8 percent, meaning millions of new families will no longer have to pay federal income taxes (or even get money back) because of the tax reform legislation.

Here’s the simple reality: Democratic leaders were never going to support pro-growth, pro-family tax reform with Republicans controlling the White House and Congress. As reported by Politico, their opposition was a political calculation, and leaders including Nancy Pelosi rooted for tax reform to fail to increase their chances of flipping control of the House.

Allowing politics to dictate their policy positions, Democratic leaders have sent a clear message that they endorse the status quo of America’s antiquated and burdensome tax code. For middle-class families working hard to provide for their children and put them through college, Democratic leaders are okay denying them tax cuts that will lead to heftier paychecks. For small business owners and Main Streets across our state, Democratic leaders are okay with denying them the tax relief they will use to expand and hire more people.  For unemployed Americans desperate for jobs and opportunity, Democratic leaders are okay with maintaining an uncompetitive tax system that encourages American companies to ship jobs overseas.

We have a different take. We believe that the status quo in Washington is unacceptable. That’s why we passed the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act to lower taxes across the board, eliminate special-interest loopholes, nearly double the standard deduction, increase paychecks, make it easier for small businesses to grow and create jobs, and level the playing field for American businesses trying to make ends meet in a global economy that gets more competitive by the day.

The positive impact tax reform will have on our economy isn’t just theoretical, it’s already happening. Citing tax reform, major companies have announced that they will be giving employees pay raises and investing hundreds of millions of dollars back into our country though employee-related and charitable investments.

That’s the real kind of change North Carolinians – and all Americans – deserve.

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