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Congressional Record – Tax Cuts And Jobs Act (Part 3)



Congressional Record - Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Part 3

At the time, I was the Senate majority leader in Michigan under the last administration, overseeing the only Republican branch of government. I saw firsthand how the administration pursued targeted tax credits, one after the other, that favored one industry over the other.

It was a classic example of government picking winners over losers, and as expected, it failed miserably.

As we see at the Federal level today, in Michigan, these targeted tax benefits were paid for by everyone else in the form of tax increases, and not only did it fail to attract growth in emerging sectors as they had hoped, but it caused our economy to go into a tailspin, a very serious tailspin.
Michigan quickly became the only State in the country experiencing zero economic growth. Per capita income fell for the first time. It was one of the highest to begin with, and just a few years later, it was one of the lowest. By 2009, unemployment hit a record high of 15 percent. Neighboring States that had more hospitable environments for good job growth attracted our families and our neighbors.

As I said, we are the only State in the Union to lose population. But as Senate majority leader at that time of the only Republican branch of government, we didn’t just say no to the government’s failed policies.  We offered solutions and loaded up the pipeline with legislation to help the newly elected Republican legislature and Governor Rick Snyder get the job done.

What did we do? We did exactly what we are doing here today. We started with tax reform. While balancing budgets, we found ways to lower rates on individuals, reduce baseline rates for job creators, and eliminate tax credits that favored certain industries over others. Michigan created an environment that grew the economy and helped families get ahead. Sure enough, just 2 months after these reforms happened, job growth turned positive again in Michigan.

Today, in Michigan, we are a top 10 pro business State and ranked 12th among all States for overall business climate. Unemployment is the lowest it has been in my home district of 3.3 percent, in Livingston County. Detroit is re-emerging again as an economic powerhouse. The streets are alive with entrepreneurs and young people finally living downtown. The future looks great for the comeback city. The moral of this story is tax reform, but it is not just about tax

cuts. It is about real reform to a broken system. Getting tax reform done right means delivering real relief, and I have seen it firsthand in Michigan.

I know it can happen at the national level. It is not rocket science. It is about giving people back more that is rightfully theirs. It is about freeing up more capital to create more jobs, increase wages, and compete at the global level. This is how you grow an economy from the ground up. Mr. Speaker, let’s vote for our constituents today. Do it for the middle-income family of four or the struggling mom. Let’s pass this bill today. It has been 31 years. It is time for relief. It is long overdue.

Mr. NEAL. Mr. Speaker, under the Republican tax bill, 570,000 Michigan households earning less than $160,000 a year will see a tax hike. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from California (Mr. Thompson), a thoughtful member of the Ways and Means Committee, whose admonitions to all of us should be something we could all rally around.

Mr. THOMPSON of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this reckless and fiscally irresponsible bill that is going to add $2.3 trillion to our national debt. There is a reason why airports, universities, the Fraternal Order of Police, home builders, and veterans groups are opposed to this bill. It is because it will increase taxes on tens of millions of middle class families. That is according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. One of the most heartless provisions would make it harder for middle class families to rebuild after disaster. When you vote today, you are telling the survivors of the California fires that you don’t care about them or about the middle class families in your district who one day may face a tornado or a hurricane–all to save a few dollars so that we can give a tax break to corporations.

We have a chance today to reject this bill, to come together, hold hearings, and hear from experts–something that wasn’t done when the Republicans wrote this bill. We can take ideas from both side of the aisle and write a tax bill that helps middle class working families. Let’s reject this bill and work on real tax reform that will not raise taxes on the middle class and won’t add $2.3 trillion–that is with a T–to our national debt.

Mr. BRADY of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that the average family of four in California’s Fifth District will see a tax cut of $2,300. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Curbelo), who has been an advocate not only for Floridians but Puerto Rico and a number of our families and communities around the country.

Mr. CURBELO of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This crucial legislation before us today marks the first time in 31 years that Congress has considered a major overhaul to the current Tax Code that is overly cumbersome, wildly outdated, and riddled with special-interest loopholes. Mr. Speaker, it is obvious there is a great deal of frustration and anxiety in our country. I truly believe it is due to the fact that the economic recovery has not reached every household. Throughout south Florida, I hear from families and small businesses who are worried about saving for their kids’ college or making payroll. While the stock market is humming and unemployment is low, wages have been stagnant, and the so-called recovery has left way too many people behind.

That is why this bill is so important. This legislation will collapse and lower current tax rates to ensure a typical middle-income family in south Florida will receive about $1,500 in tax relief. For married couples, it doubles the standard deduction from $12,000 to $24,000, drastically simplifying the process of filing taxes each year for over 90 percent of Americans while allowing taxpayers to keep more of their hard-earned money. The bill also expands the child tax credit from $1,000 to $1,600 per child, a benefit that will be seen by 43,768 taxpayers in Florida’s 26th District, while we are also making it easier to save for college by expanding 529 plans to cover more expenses, including apprenticeship programs.

All these benefits will directly help alleviate the increasing cost of raising a family. On the business side, this bill gives American companies of all sizes, especially our smaller enterprises and entrepreneurs, a chance to compete and win in the new globalized economy. By providing businesses with lower tax rates, we will make it easier for job creators to invest here at home and increase paychecks for American  workers.

Mr. Speaker, as a proud Member of the Ways and Means Committee, I commend Chairman Brady, his staff, and the Members of this House who will soon support this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ensure we provide all Americans, especially the most vulnerable, the opportunity to find their economic success.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Chairman Brady for working with me to begin addressing the important issue of helping our fellow American citizens in Puerto Rico. After the devastating effects of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, our committee delivered immediate results for the island through a disaster tax relief package targeted to help people get back on their feet.

While it will take at least months for the island to fully recover, we are providing even more assistance to Puerto Rico with the legislation being considered today.

I want to thank Chairman Brady for helping us extend the rum cover-over to $13.25 per proof gallon to be paid back to the treasuries of both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands through 2023. I am also grateful that under this bill, companies operating in Puerto Rico can deduct income attributable to domestic production activities retroactively for the year 2017.

Moving forward, I am hopeful we can work together to find creative solutions to better target the child tax credit to serve more Puerto Rico families and study the expanded use of the earned income tax credit for the Commonwealth. In addition, I look forward to continuing to work on solutions to ensure the businesses operating on the island have the certainty they need in terms of tax planning to hire more workers and strengthen Puerto Rico’s economy.

Mr. NEAL. Mr. Speaker, 22,000 constituents of the gentleman from Miami’s district will eventually face the Alzheimer’s tax increase that is included in this legislation.

Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Larson), who is a neighbor, a really nice guy, and a very thoughtful member of the Ways and Means Committee.

Mr. LARSON of Connecticut. Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I include in the Record, first a letter from the Commissioner of Revenue Services in the State of Connecticut, who has detailed out the impact of this tax on Connecticut residents.

November 8, 2017.

Hon. John B. Larson,

House of Representatives,

Washington, DC.

Dear Congressman Larson:

Thank you for opportunity to comment on the federal tax changes being considered in H.R. 1.1. We appreciate your leadership in trying to set the record straight as this partisan effort is rushed to judgment with no real input and much fiscal uncertainty.

Unfortunately, what we see so far from a national and state perspective is very troubling. Some of the proposals to reduce taxes on corporate and pass-through business income could provide needed economic stimulus nationally and for states like Connecticut. Unfortunately, on balance, R. 1 is fundamentally flawed:

Even the low estimate of a $1.5 trillion cost is not paid for and is really massive federal tax deficit spending. The nation has been down this road before and surely we should have learned something from the worst economic recession in modern times.Otherwise unaffordable tax cuts have long been part of a political strategy to `starve the beast.” Due to its long term unfunded cost, this Republican tax plan will compel big cuts in federal funding, such as Medicaid, that are important to states like Connecticut.

At the time, I was the Senate majority leader in Michigan under the last administration, overseeing the only Republican branch of government. I saw firsthand how the administration pursued targeted tax credits, one after the other, that favored one industry over the other. It was a classic example of government picking winners over losers, and as expected, it failed miserably. As we see at the Federal level today, in Michigan, these targeted tax benefits were paid for by everyone else in the form of tax increases, and not only did it fail to attract growth in emerging sectors as they had hoped, but it caused our economy to go into a tailspin, a very serious tailspin.

Michigan quickly became the only State in the country experiencing zero economic growth. Per capita income fell for the first time. It was one of the highest to begin with, and just a few years later, it was one of the lowest. By 2009, unemployment hit a record high of 15 percent. Neighboring States that had more hospitable environments for good job growth attracted our families and our neighbors.

As I said, we are the only State in the Union to lose population. But as Senate majority leader at that time of the only Republican branch of government, we didn’t just say no to the government’s failed policies.  We offered solutions and loaded up the pipeline with legislation to help the newly elected Republican legislature and Governor Rick Snyder get the job done.

What did we do? We did exactly what we are doing here today. We started with tax reform. While balancing budgets, we found ways to lower rates on individuals, reduce baseline rates for job creators, and eliminate tax credits that favored certain industries over others. Michigan created an environment that grew the economy and helped families get ahead. Sure enough, just 2 months after these reforms happened, job growth turned positive again in Michigan.

Today, in Michigan, we are a top 10 pro business State and ranked 12th among all States for overall business climate. Unemployment is the lowest it has been in my home district of 3.3 percent, in Livingston County. Detroit is re-emerging again as an economic powerhouse. The streets are alive with entrepreneurs and young people finally living downtown. The future looks great for the comeback city. The moral of this story is tax reform, but it is not just about tax cuts. It is about real reform to a broken system. Getting tax reform done right means delivering real relief, and I have seen it firsthand in Michigan.

I know it can happen at the national level. It is not rocket science. It is about giving people back more that is rightfully theirs. It is about freeing up more capital to create more jobs, increase wages, and compete at the global level. This is how you grow an economy from the ground up. Mr. Speaker, let’s vote for our constituents today. Do it for the middle-income family of four or the struggling mom. Let’s pass this bill today. It has been 31 years. It is time for relief. It is long overdue.

Mr. NEAL. Mr. Speaker, under the Republican tax bill, 570,000 Michigan households earning less than $160,000 a year will see a tax hike. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from California (Mr. Thompson), a thoughtful member of the Ways and Means Committee, whose admonitions to all of us should be something we could all rally around.

Mr. THOMPSON of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this reckless and fiscally irresponsible bill that is going to add $2.3 trillion to our national debt. There is a reason why airports, universities, the Fraternal Order of Police, home builders, and veterans groups are opposed to this bill. It is because it will increase taxes on tens of millions of middle class families. That is according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. One of the most heartless provisions would make it harder for middle class families to rebuild after disaster. When you vote today, you are telling the survivors of the California fires that you don’t care about them or about the middle class families in your district who one day may face a tornado or a hurricane–all to save a few dollars so that we can give a tax break to corporations.

We have a chance today to reject this bill, to come together, hold hearings, and hear from experts–something that wasn’t done when the Republicans wrote this bill. We can take ideas from both side of the aisle and write a tax bill that helps middle class working families. Let’s reject this bill and work on real tax reform that will not raise taxes on the middle class and won’t add $2.3 trillion–that is with a T–to our national debt.

Mr. BRADY of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that the average family of four in California’s Fifth District will see a tax cut of $2,300. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Curbelo), who has been an advocate not only for Floridians but Puerto Rico and a number of our families and communities around the country.

Mr. CURBELO of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This crucial legislation before us today marks the first time in 31 years that Congress has considered a major overhaul to the current Tax Code that is overly cumbersome, wildly outdated, and riddled with special-interest loopholes. Mr. Speaker, it is obvious there is a great deal of frustration and anxiety in our country. I truly believe it is due to the fact that the economic recovery has not reached every household. Throughout south Florida, I hear from families and small businesses who are worried about saving for their kids’ college or making payroll. While the stock market is humming and unemployment is low, wages have been stagnant, and the so-called recovery has left way too many people behind.

That is why this bill is so important. This legislation will collapse and lower current tax rates to ensure a typical middle-income family in south Florida will receive about $1,500 in tax relief. For married couples, it doubles the standard deduction from $12,000 to $24,000, drastically simplifying the process of filing taxes each year for over 90 percent of Americans while   allowing taxpayers to keep more of their hard-earned money. The bill also expands the child tax credit from $1,000 to $1,600 per child, a benefit that will be seen by 43,768 taxpayers in Florida’s 26th District, while we are also making it easier to save for college by expanding 529 plans to cover more expenses, including apprenticeship programs.

All these benefits will directly help alleviate the increasing cost of raising a family. On the business side, this bill gives American companies of all sizes, especially our smaller enterprises and entrepreneurs, a chance to compete and win in the new globalized economy. By providing businesses with lower tax rates, we will make it easier for job creators to invest here at home and increase paychecks for American  workers.

Mr. Speaker, as a proud Member of the Ways and Means Committee, I commend Chairman Brady, his staff, and the Members of this House who will soon support this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ensure we provide all Americans, especially the most vulnerable, the opportunity to find their economic success.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Chairman Brady for working with me to begin addressing the important issue of helping our fellow American citizens in Puerto Rico. After the devastating effects of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, our committee delivered immediate results for the island through a disaster tax relief package targeted to help people get back on their feet.

While it will take at least months for the island to fully recover, we are providing even more assistance to Puerto Rico with the legislation being considered today.

I want to thank Chairman Brady for helping us extend the rum cover-over to $13.25 per proof gallon to be paid back to the treasuries of both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands through 2023. I am also grateful that under this bill, companies operating in Puerto Rico can deduct income attributable to domestic production activities retroactively for the year 2017.

Moving forward, I am hopeful we can work together to find creative solutions to better target the child tax credit to serve more Puerto Rico families and study the expanded use of the earned income tax credit for the Commonwealth. In addition, I look forward to continuing to work on solutions to ensure the businesses operating on the island have the certainty they need in terms of tax planning to hire more workers and strengthen Puerto Rico’s economy.

Mr. NEAL. Mr. Speaker, 22,000 constituents of the gentleman from Miami’s district will eventually face the Alzheimer’s tax increase that is included in this legislation.

Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Larson), who is a neighbor, a really nice guy, and a very thoughtful member of the Ways and Means Committee.

Mr. LARSON of Connecticut. Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I include in the Record, first a letter from the Commissioner of Revenue Services in the State of Connecticut, who has detailed out the impact of this tax on Connecticut residents.

November 8, 2017.

Hon. John B. Larson,

House of Representatives,

Washington, DC.

Dear Congressman Larson:

Thank you for opportunity to comment on the federal tax changes being considered in H.R.  We appreciate your leadership in trying to set the record straight as this partisan effort is rushed to judgment with no real input and much fiscal uncertainty. Unfortunately, what we see so far from a national and state perspective is very troubling. Some of the proposals to reduce taxes on corporate and pass-through business income could provide needed economic stimulus nationally and for states like Connecticut. Unfortunately, on balance, R. 1 is fundamentally flawed:

Even the low estimate of a $1.5 trillion cost is not paid for and is really massive federal tax deficit spending. The nation has been down this road before and surely we should have learned something from the worst economic recession in modern times.Otherwise unaffordable tax cuts have long been part of a political strategy to `starve the beast.” Due to its long term unfunded cost, this Republican tax plan will compel big cuts in federal funding, such as Medicaid, that are important to states like Connecticut.

Contrary to all the talk of a`middle income tax cut,” the plan actually represents a huge windfall to the very wealthiest federal taxpayers and is truly regressive. For our own state of Connecticut, over 75% of the tax cut goes to the top 1% who would pay 8.5% less on average. Everyone else would see a trivial 1.2% reduction in federal tax liability and many will actually owe much more in federal income taxes. As discussed more specifically below, the proposed plan shifts most of the tax cost and the least of any tax benefit to states in the Northeast, Great Lakes and West Coast regions of the country. Thus, Connecticut and similar states will even more disproportionately pay in federal taxes far more than is received in federal benefits–further subsidizing regions of the country where states make far less of a state and local tax effort.

Drilling down a bit further, several aspects of this partisan plan will hit especially hard:

Eliminating deductibility of state income tax paid is worth an estimated $8.7 billion to mostly middle income Connecticut taxpayers.

Capping deductibility of local property tax paid at $10,000 will increase federal income taxes for a significant proportion of Connecticut taxpayers who claim $4.9 billion.

Any benefit to lower and lower moderate income taxpayers from higher standard deductions and child care credits will likely be more than offset by the shell game of imposing a higher lowest rate bracket of 12% and replacing the current $4,050 personal exemption with a $300 deduction that is proposed to end in 5 years.

Eliminating deductibility of medical/dental expenses will be $1.6 billion hardship for Connecticut taxpayers at all levels who are out of work and have catastrophic medical costs.

Eliminating deductibility of student loan interest only adds a further financial burden for primarily younger taxpayers and their families already struggling with educational indebtedness.

Sadly, these and many other significant issues of fiscal irresponsibility and tax unfairness seem to be of no concern in the partisan rush to pass legislation before taxpayers see through the slogans and realize the costs. Indeed, glimpses  of what may be in the Republican Senate version suggests that it will only get worse. Thank you for your efforts to speak  out for our Connecticut taxpayers and set the record straight.

Sincerely,

Kevin B. Sullivan, Commissioner

Mr. LARSON of Connecticut. Second, Mr. Speaker, I include in the Record a letter out of a cross section of constituents who are directly and adversely impacted by this tax increase.

(Congressional Record – Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Part 1)

(Congressional Record – Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Part 2)

(Congressional Record – Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Part 3)

(Congressional Record – Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Part 4)

 

 

 

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