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‘Ready To Go’

Reed Discusses Tax Reform At Town Hall Meeting

P-J file photo

SILVER CREEK — With a finalized version of the Republican tax reform bill released to the public and a vote looming next week, Rep. Tom Reed held three town hall meetings Saturday.

The tax reform bill is being branded as “The Tax Cut and Jobs Act,” which Reed said will protect the working class and middle income New York residents by lowering tax rates, doubling standard deduction, keeping the mortgage interest deduction, retaining retirement savings and keeping the earned income tax credit.

“There’s a lot of misinformation out there,” Reed said.

The representative began the second town hall meeting in Silver Creek by clarifying a few details and highlighting what the bill is. Currently, the House and Senate passed their respective tax reform bills. Reed said a committee then went over both bills and worked out the differences between the two.

“On Friday we finalized the differences and came to an agreement between the house and senate,” he said.

Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, fields questions Saturday in Silver Creek during a town hall meeting. Reed also met with constituents in Kennedy and Salamanca. P-J photo by Jordan Patterson

The congressman had the actual finalized bill with him and a digital copy is available online. Reed said the tax reform bill is about 503 pages and is a product of work that began in 2011.

“Now, what you see before you is that final product,” Reed said.

Reed emphasized that tax rates will be lowered for individual tax payers, businesses and the corporate side.

“One of the things I think we can all agree on — maybe we can’t but I think we can — is (that) tax reform hasn’t been done for 31 years,” Reed said. “We’ve had tax cuts over the years since 1986 but this is a fundamental reform of the entire (tax) code.

“A lot has changed in those 31 years and so hopefully this will be the vehicle that allows us to go forward in a simpler, fair, more competitive nature,” Reed said.

Reed discussed concerns he and Congress heard over the rollout of the bill.

Those concerns pertained to the medical expense deduction, state and local tax deduction and the charitable child past credit policy.

“I’m pleased to report that, essentially, all got put in the final bill,” he said.

Reed explained the standard deduction for families that was at $12,000 is now $24,000 and the children’s tax credit is increased to $2,000.

“When it comes to state and local tax deduction there is going to be really no impact to people here in the district,” Reed said.

He also mentioned the medical deduction has remained in the final bill. For businesses, Reed said there is a 20 percent deduction for business income tax rates.

Reed was challenged by community members during the meeting on the logistics of the bill and the estimated $1.5 trillion price tag that it will add to the national debt.

Those in attendance bared signs highlighting the deficit and asked Reed how he could support a bill that would put the nation further into a deficit.

Reed said the $1.5 trillion estimated cost is inaccurate because it does not account for the potential growth that will come with the proposed tax breaks.

Those in attendance questioned why it appeared the rollout of the plan was rushed. Reed disagreed and said he has been working on tax reform since 2011. He said because of the mainstream coverage people perceive the rollout as being a fast process.

The congressman emphasized that the economy will grow when “main street” businesses begin to grow.

“Fundamentally, we are ready to go forward,” he said.

Reed was also questioned about the repealing of “Net Neutrality” by the Federal Communication Commission this week. He said the former law that regulated the internet was outdated. Reed also said he doesn’t view the internet as a utility and rather something else entirely.

The congressman also held town hall meetings Saturday in Kennedy and Salamanca.

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