By Congressman Bradley Byrne
This Christmas, the American people received a gift that isn’t found underneath the tree but will be found in your pocketbook and paychecks over the coming years. I’m talking about passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act represents the first major overhaul of our nation’s tax code since 1986. The ultimate goal is to grow the American economy and put more money in your pockets. I firmly believe the money is better off in the hands of the American people instead of in the coffers of a bloated federal government.
Consider this: the average family in Southwest Alabama will see their tax bill decrease by $2,187 a year. That’s extra money on a car payment. That’s additional savings for a child’s college. That’s money to help pay for home repairs. That’s real money.
As part of our bill, we nearly double the standard deduction from $6,500 and $13,000 under current law to $12,000 and $24,000 for individuals and married couples, respectively. Over 70 percent of tax filers in Southwest Alabama already take the standard deduction, so this will be a major boost for those people. Thousands more will pay less and won’t have to go through the burden of itemization.
For families, the bill expands the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $2,000 per child. With this change, families will have more money to help with the many expenses related to raising a child. We also preserve the adoption tax credit to encourage and support those who open their homes to an adopted child.
In an important step to restore individual choice and freedom, the bill ends the tax penalty created under Obamacare for individuals who choose not to have health insurance. The federal government should not force someone to buy a private product or fine someone who finds their health care options too expensive.
The bill also includes serious and substantial reforms to make the American economy boom again. For example, our current corporate tax rate of 35 percent is the highest in the industrialized world. This keeps businesses from expanding in America and has caused a number of major companies to leave our country altogether.
Well, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act lowers the corporate tax rate to 21 percent to help make us more competitive on the world stage. We are already seeing the benefits of this change with companies like AT&T, Comcast, Wells Fargo, and Boeing announcing that they will increase investment in our country, increase pay for their employees, and give out bonuses.
Small businesses also win big under this tax plan with lower taxes and a fairer tax structure that does not punish “pass-through” businesses. The bill offers a first-ever 20 percent tax deduction that applies to the first $315,000 of joint small business income.
In addition to the major tax reforms, the bill also includes a provision important to the Gulf Coast that I championed. The provision would increase the money Gulf states are able to receive through the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, which means more money will be headed to our local coastal communities.
There are many other positive provisions included in the tax plan, so I encourage everyone to visit FairAndSimple.gop to learn more.
At the end of the day, people right here in Southwest Alabama will be better off under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act thanks to bigger paychecks, a stronger economy, and more money in their pockets. That’s a Christmas gift we can all get excited about!