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Opinion | Tax cuts put more money in your pocket

Bradley Byrne

By U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne

When I voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act last year, I did so with a key principle in mind: money is better off in the hands of the American people than the coffers of the federal government.

Our pro-growth bill cut taxes for people from every walk of life. Whether it was the small business owner from Brewton, the single mom from Monroeville, or the retired couple in Foley, our tax reform bill was all about putting more money in your pocket.

While many of the changes to the tax code will not be fully apparent until Americans file their 2018 taxes, many are already seeing more money in their paychecks thanks to lower taxes. Most businesses have already updated their withholding tables to reflect the lower tax rates, so if you notice more money in your paycheck, it is most likely due to passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

The average family of four in Southwest Alabama is expected to see a total tax cut of $2,187. That is real money that can be used to make home repairs, pay health care bills, or save for your child’s college.

In addition to the positive changes we are seeing to the individual tax code, many businesses in Alabama and across the United States are raising wages, handing out bonuses, increasing benefits, or growing their investment in the local economy.

In fact, over 4 million American workers have already received bonuses thanks to passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and those bonuses have totaled over $3 billion.

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Just last week, I visited the Xante Corporation in Mobile, a locally-owned company that provides high-end printers and employs over 100 people. I was there to help hand out $1,200 bonus checks to their employees. You should have seen the smiles on their faces. It was fantastic to see a local business investing in their greatest asset: their workforce.

Other companies that have already handed out bonuses checks or given other benefits includes Cogent Building Group in Point Clear, DTI Partners in Mobile, Birmingham-based Protective Life, Regions Bank, Russell Lands in Alexander City, Home Depot, and Wal-Mart.

The good news is that the announcements are still coming. I would expect to hear from other businesses throughout the year who are investing in their workforce and helping make life a little bit easier for their employees.

I fully expect the tax bill to also lead to improvements in the overall American economy. This comes in the form of more jobs, higher wages, and fewer unemployed Americans.

Now, some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle seem to believe the money should go to the federal government instead of the people. For example, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called all the tax cut bonuses “crumbs.” Maybe in San Francisco $1,200 isn’t a lot of money, but for families in Southwest Alabama and most places throughout America, that is a big deal.

Pelosi also called the tax bill “unpatriotic.” Just how out of touch must one be to think that bonuses, wage increases, and more investment in the American economy is “unpatriotic”? Allowing the people to make decisions for themselves and supporting small businesses is actually the essence of the American dream.

I supported this landmark tax reform bill because I think our country is better off when the American people have more money in their pockets. Let us never forget that the government is intended to serve the people – not the other way around.

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Bradley Byrne is the president and CEO of the Mobile Chamber of Commerce and a former Republican congressman who represented Alabama's 1st Congressional District.

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