Ted Yoho: Tax plan would unshackle country’s economic engines
The United States tax code has over 70,000 pages and roughly 3 to 4 million words. It is complicated, filled with special-interest loopholes, makes our companies less competitive and costs Americans countless hours in productivity just to file their returns. House Republicans want to change all of that.
The goal of tax reform is straightforward: simplify a very complicated tax system, allow working families to keep more of their hard-earned money, stimulate the economy and create jobs. I believe these are goals that everyone can agree on and goals that will benefit all Americans across the board.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) introduced a proposal to overhaul our outdated tax code on Nov. 2. Notice I said “proposal.” The proposed plan — the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) — is not a finished product. It is the first step in the arduous process of creating legislation that will become law.
As soon as the proposed bill came out, immediately there was a chorus of criticism. I will remind the critics that the bill has many hurdles to jump before it is a final product. The House Ways and Means Committee spent all last week debating and amending the bill, and the Senate just introduced their version on Nov. 9. H.R. 1 has to gain House approval, the Senate’s version of tax reform must be passed in their chamber, and then both approved bills will go to conference to iron out any differences between the two; then, and only then, will a final vote be taken.
As a taxpayer, father of three and former small business owner, there are a lot of things to like about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. For families and individuals, the bill will simplify the tax code by lowering rates and consolidating the eight current tax brackets down to three. The standard deduction would be nearly doubled from $6,350 to $12,000 for individuals to $12,000 to $24,000 for families. This means lower- and middle-income earners will be able to keep more of their hard-earned money. For the third district of Florida, this is an estimated median tax saving of $1,400.
The corporate tax rate will be dropped from 35 percent to 20 percent to help stimulate our economy and make U.S. companies more competitive globally. This is a big help in getting U.S. companies to repatriate profits parked overseas to reinvest and expand their businesses here at home.
For small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy, there is expanded capital expensing. This is important for Main Street businesses so they can write off the cost of new buildings, equipment and machinery. As a former small business owner, I know this change helps tremendously. By lowering the tax burden on American businesses large and small, they will be more competitive, invest in our communities and create jobs.
Tax reform is no easy task. It hasn’t been achieved since President Ronald Reagan did it in 1986. The House, Senate and White House are on the verge of accomplishing meaningful tax reform that will benefit all Americans. When the final vote is called, I will cast my vote for a modern tax code that puts more money in the pockets of hard-working Americans and unshackles the economic engines of our country.
U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho is a Republican representing Gainesville and other parts of Florida’s Third Congressional District.