Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

In Tax Bill, Some Pain at All Income Levels

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

In Tax Bill, Some Pain at All Income Levels

Article excerpt

"Either it's the greatest bait-and-switch going on right now, or your intent is to continue the expiring provisions and keep piling on the debt."

Ron Kind

Congressman, D-Wis.

The official tax scorekeepers in Congress have concluded that at every income level, some people will have to pay higher taxes under a sweeping tax overhaul described by President Donald Trump and House Republicans as a massive cut for the middle class.

The analysis by the Joint Committee on Taxation also shows that because some benefits in what has been dubbed the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" expire after five years, the percentage of losers increases over time.

For those making $75,000 to $100,000, for example, about 11% will pay at least $100 more in taxes in 2019 than they would have paid under current law.

That figure grows to 30% in 2025, including 21% who will be paying an additional $500 or more.

For those making $50,000 to $75,000, the percentage who would pay at least $100 more grows from 10% in 2019 to 27% in 2025, including 16% at that point who would pay an additional $500 or more.

The figures come as the Republican majority in Congress is racing to finish a tax bill before Christmas.

The House Ways and Means Committee held its second daylong hearing Tuesday, on its way to passing the bill by Thursday. Early Tuesday, the committee voted along party lines to defeat Democratic changes that would maintain the existing deduction for state and local taxes and repeal the tax changes in two years if projected economic growth does not materialize and the deficit balloons.

While the House seems to be seeking passage with only Republican votes, Democrats from swing states in the Senate were being wooed Tuesday by Marc Short, the White House director of legislative affairs.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, pointed to that meeting at a news conference Tuesday and speculated there could be bipartisan support for the bill in the Senate.

"Both parties, members of both parties, will have ample opportunity to offer amendments and that's as it should be," Collins said. "In the end, I'm hopeful that we will produce the kind of bipartisan tax relief that America needs and is looking for."

Among those meeting with Short was Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., whose state Trump won by 42 percentage points.

"I wish there was more involvement, and today we're going to start that process and see how far it goes," Manchin said.

Two provisions in the House tax bill are due to expire after five years: a new $300 credit for each taxpayer and spouse, and a provision that allows businesses to write off the full cost of equipment purchases immediately, rather than parceling out those costs over several years.

Democrats at the Ways and Means hearing challenged Republicans to say whether those expiration dates were really just gimmicks to make the cost of the bill seem lower, and whether they really expect to renew the provisions before they expire. …

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