By TAYLOR STUCK
WASHINGTON — As the House of Representatives works on amendments to the GOP-backed legislation to overhaul the nation’s tax code and the Senate prepares to introduce its companion bill, West Virginia’s delegation in Congress is split on how the plan will affect West Virginians.
U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., joined a handful of other Senate Republicans on Tuesday in a news conference to express her support for the plan, calling it a moment of opportunity.
“(Treasury Secretary Steven) Mnuchin came to West Virginia and we had a small-business roundtable,” Capito said. “The enthusiasm of our small-business owners cannot be overstated, coming from a state that is 95 percent small business. In asking them what would you do if you actually got a tax cut, what would you do with it? First one says, ‘I’d raise the wages of everybody that works here because I can’t do it now and I lose my best workers because I can’t raise their wages to match.'”
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act promises lower individual tax rates for low- and middle-income Americans, would collapse today’s seven personal income tax brackets into four, nearly double the standard deduction used by people who don’t itemize, and eliminate special-interest deductions.
The bill also established a new family tax credit, which includes expanding the child tax credit from $1,000 to $1,600.
“That’s money in the pocket for our families,” Capito said Tuesday.
For businesses, the bill lowered the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent and reduces the business income tax to no more than 25 percent.
The legislation would add $1.5 trillion to an already ballooning national debt as it delivers a major tax cut to corporations and repeals the estate tax, which would benefit a tiny percentage of the wealthiest families in the country.
A state-by-state analysis of the plan by the nonpartisan Institute on Tax and Economic Policy found in West Virginia, the wealthiest 1 percent will receive the greatest share of the total tax cut in year one and their share would grow through 2027.
Among the legislation’s detractors is U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
“My test for a good tax reform proposal is simple: Does it enable working West Virginians to keep more of their hard-earned money, does it help West Virginia businesses create jobs, and does it do these things without exploding our debt? The tax reform proposal unveiled today does not pass this test and does not reflect the goals President (Donald) Trump and I have discussed over the last several months,” Manchin said in a statement. “It puts investors ahead of workers, raises rates on the small businesses who create most of our jobs, and dramatically increases our national debt.”
Senate Republicans aim to introduce companion legislation by Thursday, Nov. 9, and try to push a combined package through Congress and to Trump by Christmas. Trump made overhauling the tax system a campaign pledge and an economic promise.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow reporter Taylor Stuck on Twitter and Facebook @TaylorStuckHD.
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