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Mooney talks tax reform in Kanawha, Putnam counties

By JAKE ZUCKERMAN

Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — After voting to pass an overhaul of the federal tax code in the House of Representatives last week, Alex Mooney, R- W.Va., has been taking feedback from constituents at closed-door meetings in Putnam and Kanawha counties.

Congressman Alex Mooney, right, leads a tax reform discussion at the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce office Tuesday.
(Gazette-Mail photo by Chris Dorst)

In an interview Tuesday prior to addressing a roundtable of business owners and local elected officials, Mooney said he has not reviewed the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation’s analysis of the latest Senate changes to the House bill.

That analysis shows tax rates for individuals earning up to $75,000 will, by 2027, increase by between one-tenth of a percent and 1 percent. It will also increase the federal deficit by more than $1.4 trillion between 2018 and 2027.

Mooney said while he has not seen the report, he opposes the idea of a middle-class tax hike, though kinks can be ironed out when the House and Senate negotiate a final bill in a conference committee.

“The thing you mentioned about the middle class — the 1 percent raise — that sounds like that could be taken care of within a conference committee,” he said. “Taxes should not go up for anyone in the middle class now or in the future.”

The taxes are projected to spike because of the December 2025 expiration of the roughly-doubled standard deduction and the expansion of child tax credits. In other words, taxes will decrease for middle-income earners in the short run but increase over time, per JCT data.

Mooney, along with fellow West Virginia congressional representatives David McKinley and Evan Jenkins, voted for the bill, which passed on a 227-205 vote.

Mooney hosted a similar meeting in Charleston with business leaders Monday. Both meetings were not open to the general public.

While Mooney said he couldn’t speak to the latest version of the bill — which passed the Senate Finance Committee last week and could soon be up for floor amendments and changes — he thinks the beefed up standard deduction and expanded child tax credits will make up for any other deductions the bill wipes away.

If not, he said, the bill could still be fixed in conference.

When asked what he hopes stays in the bill as it navigates the legislative process, he pointed to the child tax credit expansion — $2,000 per child in the Senate bill.

“I think that’s a very important part of the bill, so I’d be really upset if that were lowered in any way,” he said. “Not to say I’d vote against it, but I’d hate to see that be lowered to make room for something else over here.”

He also said he’s glad the House voted to repeal the estate tax, which is a levy imposed on the estates of the super-wealthy after their death. He said while it does not apply especially to West Virginia, the estate tax is a form of “double taxation.”

IRS data shows so few West Virginian families pay the estate tax, it cannot divulge exactly how many to protect their privacy.

The bill would also repeal the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, which could lead to 13 million people being uninsured, according to reports.

Reach Jake Zuckerman at [email protected], 304-348-4814 or follow @jake_zuckerman on Twitter.

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