Political Editors / November 9, 2017

GOP Plodding Forward on Tax Reform

Some continuity between the House and Senate plans, but rumblings of discontent from several Republicans.

As the GOP stumbles forward on building some form of tax reform bill, one of the latest proposals to be bandied about is repealing the ObamaCare mandate. Citing Congressional Budget Office numbers, House Republicans estimate that ending the mandate would save the government some $338 billion over the next decade, helping to offset the predicted lost revenue from tax cuts. However, it’s clear that not all House Republicans are on board with the plan as several publicly expressed their misgivings, while Democrats have trotted out their usual objections that the plan favors the rich.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans released some key components of their desired tax plan, including a proposal that President Donald Trump’s heavily touted corporate tax cut be delayed until 2019. Both House and Senate versions would enact a corporate tax rate of 20%, down from the current 35%, though the House version would put it in place next year. Both the House and Senate plans share the same standard deduction and increase in the child tax credit.

The biggest difference between the House and Senate versions may be the issue of reform itself. While the House has advanced a plan with significant changes to the tax code that would fundamentally reform taxes, the Senate has opted for more of a tweaking approach, choosing to maintain much of the current structure while making minor adjustments to the existing code. Secondly, the House plan’s changes take effect much sooner than the Senate, which seeks to put off some of the more costly changes for at least a year.

The overarching issue is this: The perception among the electorate is that Republicans are failing to lead and are on their way to another massive failure similar to that of repealing ObamaCare. If Republicans can’t get their act together and pass meaningful comprehensive tax reform legislation, then there’s a good chance they will find themselves in the minority come 2018. Hopefully, Republicans will take heed from the recent election results from Virginia and progress on meaningful tax legislation.

(Edited.)

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