Proposed tax reforms lack bipartisan support

December 15, 2017
Contributed Columns

As I travel throughout Arizona’s First Congressional District, I hear from hard-working families and business owners who are struggling to make ends meet.

There is no question they deserve lasting tax relief. Unfortunately, Congressional leaders, in their rush to earn political points, have not listened. Recent tax reform legislation will harm working families and entrepreneurs, while adding trillions to the national debt.

Both the House and Senate tax plans include some tax relief for middle-class Arizonans. Unlike the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, however, the proposed tax cut for middle-class families will expire or become less generous over the next 10 years.

Families who cannot afford to bear the burden of this tax plan will be forced to do so as the wealthiest continue to see their taxes cut year after year.

Not only do these tax cuts largely favor the wealthy over the middle-class, the reform proposals would eliminate critical deductions that millions of families rely on every year.

Under this plan, students would no longer be able to deduct their student loan interest, making higher education even more unattainable for those who want to attend. Families will pay higher medical costs after the medical expense deduction is removed. Those planning to purchase a home will no longer be able to deduct the interest on their mortgage, making responsible home ownership impossible.

The House tax plan affects Arizona’s small businesses, too. Arizona’s more than 500,000 small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, but for countless entrepreneurs, the reforms in both the House and Senate packages spell disaster. The tax proposals would force small business owners to pay a higher rate than many large corporations, making it even more difficult to grow, create jobs, and stimulate our local economy.

Additionally, the plan gives corporations big tax breaks, but it fails to incentivize them to bring good-paying jobs back to our communities or create American jobs.

According to a report by the independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO), if Congress passes the tax reform bill that explodes the federal deficit by the estimated $1.5 trillion, the White House would be required to cut mandatory spending under Congressional rules. These cuts will include billions from programs like Medicare and Social Security.

I cannot sit idly by while these programs are cut, and our Arizona seniors, veterans and tribal communities lose critical resources.

From the beginning, this should have been a bipartisan, transparent process that included the American people. Instead, it is a partisan bill drafted behind closed doors with minimal public hearings.

We need sound policymaking that results in lasting tax reform that brings relief to families and small business owners, stimulates our economy, encourages businesses to bring jobs back to our communities, and does not saddle our children and grandchildren with trillions more in debt.

I am ready to work on a bipartisan plan, and I urge Congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle to put aside partisan politics and work together for the future of our country.