Newspaper column: Tax reform bill divides Nevada delegation along party lines

Like everything else to come out of Washington, the House tax reform bill introduced this past week has turned into a partisan hissing match in a fact-free zone.

Republicans hail it as an economy stimulating second coming, while Democrats decry it as a sop to the wealthy and a death knell for the middle class.

The bill lowers the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, doubles the standard deduction, lowers the individual tax rates for all but millionaires, allows 100 percent expensing of business costs instead of the current 50 percent, eliminates deductions for state and local taxes, except for property taxes, and allows mortgage interest deduction.

Republican Dean Heller said the bill will provide tax relief for middle class families, while Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto said the bill rewards corporations and the rich at the expense of working families, seniors and the poor.

“As a member of the U.S. Senate’s tax-writing committee, I’m waking up each and every day with the sole focus of ensuring that Nevada’s hardworking families and small business owners come out ahead when the Senate passes its final product,” Heller said in a statement, adding, “I’m going to continue fighting for a major tax overhaul that will help my state and push for policies that will create jobs, boost growth, and make it easier for Nevadans to provide a better life for their kids.”

A Cortez Masto press release fulminated, “Republicans in Congress have one priority: ripping off America’s middle class and working families. Rather than transparently writing a bill that puts economic growth and American’s financial security first, the current Republican tax proposal targets Nevada families. The latest Republican proposals would put our country even further in debt, take money out of working families pocketbooks …”

Cortez Masto also claimed, “The average tax increase on families nationwide earning up to $86,100 would be $794.”

But the Washington Post fact checked that claim and found it was based on a report by Democrats on the Joint Economic Committee who actually said, “If enacted, the Republican tax reform proposal would saddle 8 million households that earn up to $86,100 with an average tax increase of $794 …”

But you see, there are 122 million households making less than $86,100. Thus only 6.5 percent of those households would see a tax hike of that amount. The Post reported that more than 97 million, or 80 percent, of that group would get a tax cut averaging about $450.

Republicans say the bill would result in a tax savings of $1,182 for a typical household of four with gross income of $59,000, resulting in their tax bill being only $400.

Las Vegas Democratic Rep. Dina Titus joined the partisan fray by calling the bill “a red herring tax plan that relies on the myth of trickle-down economics in order to give the nation’s top earners a handout.”

Titus said she could not see how working families could save money if the bill removes certain deductions, including the one for state and local sales taxes — ignoring the fact 70 percent of Americans take the standard deduction and do not itemize, nor the fact Nevadans who do itemize can deduct only about 10 percent as much as taxpayers in high-tax states such as California and New York and thus are subsidizing those states.

Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen, who represents southern rural Nevada and northern Clark County, used the occasion to solicit contributions while slamming the bill by saying, “We expected Paul Ryan and the Republicans would bend over backwards to make big corporations and the super rich the winners in this plan, and that’s exactly what they did. Meanwhile, it’s all at your expense.”

Republican Congressman Mark Amodei, who represents northern Nevada, took a more nuanced approach, promising in an email to constituents to thoroughly research the 429-page bill, while also saying, “I think we can all agree the American taxpayer would be better off if Congress were to reform our current tax code in favor of a system that is simpler, fairer, and has lower tax rates.”

The bill also eliminates the $7,500 tax credit for purchasing electric cars, such as Teslas, whose batteries are built in Sparks, and drops the tax exemption for municipal bonds to finance sports stadiums, such as the one planned for Las Vegas for the Raiders.

Next, Congress needs to address the runaway federal spending.

A version of this column appeared this week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

(AP pix)

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6 comments on “Newspaper column: Tax reform bill divides Nevada delegation along party lines

  1. Rincon says:

    You forgot the most important part: “The amended House Republican tax plan will increase budget deficits by $1.7 trillion over 10 years, according to the CBO. It will also cause U.S. debt to rise more than current projections, the CBO said.” https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/08/house-tax-reform-plan-would-raise-deficit-by-1-point-7-trillion-cbo.html

    Not very conservative.

  2. Rincon says:

    I was premature: “The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that an earlier version of the House bill will lead to $1.7 trillion more in budget deficits over 10 years. The figure tops the $1.5 trillion in deficits allowed under budget rules the GOP is using to pass a tax bill.” https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/09/gop-tax-reform-plan-advanced-by-house-ways-and-means-committee.html

  3. Steve says:

    Imagine three sad-faced clowns sitting backward on a drunken mule and trying to march it sideways through a coin-operated carwash without any money and you’ll have a pretty good idea where the Republican tax-cut plan is right now.

    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/453620/donald-trump-gop-tax-bill-fiasco-works

    National Review is a conservative pub,,,,and it reflects what CONSERVATIVES think, not what trumpkins or you anti trumpkins think, Rincon.

  4. Rincon says:

    The first paragraph of thehill.com’s article gives it away. “An analysis by the right-leaning Tax Foundation released Friday reports that the Senate GOP’s tax-reform plan would cost $516 billion once economic growth was taken into account.”

    So even with a right leaning analysis and with a rosy prediction of robust extra future economic growth because of the tax bill itself, the Tax Foundation still concludes a cost of $516 billion. These are Conservatives? Historically of course, we all know that tax cuts have rarely been followed by lower deficits and have never lived up to the projections of their creators, but hey, I’m sure this time it’s different.

    As for spending cuts, I’m all for tax reduction AFTER spending is cut, rarely before. All the while, we ignore the product of the same thinking that we are stuck with to the tune of $360 billion per year in interest payments (that’s about a thousand dollars for each man, woman and child) at a time when interest rates are at extreme historic lows. But Conservatives apparently aren’t particularly fond of reducing the debt unless the administration is run by Democrats. I don’t remember any of you giving the Obama Administration a free pass as you appear to be doing with the Trump Administration today.

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