Tax Reform Remains Polarizing Topic

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is much like a line in the sand between the two party lines and everyone has picked their side.

The bill passed the Senate on Saturday, and since then, it has been met with differing points of view by local and national officials on how it will impact New York and the nation as a whole.

In a conference call Tuesday, Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, said he was confident that the difference between the House and Senate bills can be worked out. Reed said he remains hopeful that the bill will make its way to President Donald Trump’s desk by the end of the year.

However, Reed said there is no rush in getting the tax reform passed.

“The claim that this is being pushed by an artificial deadline is just not accurate,” he said.

Reed said he and his colleagues would like to get the reform “on the books” to make sure the tax withholding tables, which determines the amount of taxes taken out for payroll, and tax forms for filing will be ready. He added it will also allow people to see more money in their paychecks sooner due to the new tax brackets which would result in less being withheld.

“That means easier and earlier access to their hard earned dollars,” Reed said.

When it comes to the Affordable Care Act, Reed said the tax credit received by individuals using the health care exchanges would not be repealed.

“What we do is we repeal the individual mandate penalty, which is a penalty for folks that maybe can’t afford insurance so they go without insurance or who choose not to get insurance, they would then not be subject to a penalty at the federal level,” Reed said.

Reed said the premium tax credits would still be accessible on the health care exchanges.

The new law would go into effect on Jan. 1 and would have an immediate impact on the withholding table and paychecks, according to Reed — others disagree. However, filing would not be impacted until filing for 2018 at the end of 2018.

Reed said he will not be on the conference committee that will negotiate on the details of the final draft from the House and the Senate. He added that he is listening to the concerns that have been voiced by people in his district and said he is advocating for his constituents when it comes to the final product, not just what was in the Senate or the House bills.

State Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-Jamestown, said the reform, which doubles the standard deduction for individuals and married couples, could have a positive impact for people in the local area. He said Chautauqua County residents would received a “significant tax break.”

“The proposed increase in standard deductions will be helpful and will result in much more back,” Goodell said.

Goodell said a possible problem surrounds the State and Local Tax deduction, known as the SALT deduction. Goodell said it is a problem because New York state has “some of the highest taxes in the nation.”

“That’s a concern to our state because it makes the tax burden more onerous on high-wage earners,” he said. “Then, they have an incentive to move to lower-tax states.”

On Saturday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, offered her thoughts on the act on Facebook.

“In the middle of the night, Republicans rammed through their atrocious tax scam,” Gillibrand said. “We didn’t have time to read the nearly 500 pages of partially handwritten, scribbled notes — unlike the lobbyists who knew what was in the bill before we did. The entire ordeal was a deafening blow to our democratic process.”

Gillibrand said the bill is meant to “take from everyday Americans and give to wealthy CEOs and corporations.” She said Republicans in Senate should remember who they were sent to serve.

“By channeling our anger and energy into defeating people in Congress who voted to put their donors before working and middle-class families, we will win this fight,” Gillibrand said. “We will win if you donate to candidates who share your values, if you volunteer to knock on doors or make calls, if you refuse to let this abominable behavior become normalized. Now’s the time to believe in yourself and one another. We may have lost today, but tomorrow is another day in our fight, and we need to fight harder than ever against this administration’s cruel agenda.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo also blasted the bill at a Saturday press conference before traveling to Puerto Rico. He said the Senate vote and the bill is the “exact opposite” of what Republicans said in their campaigns.

“Remember in the campaign?” Cuomo said. “Everything was help the middle class, help the middle class, help the middle class. As soon as they got in office, help the middle class and the help the middle class tax reform was a sham. It was a fraud on the people of this country.”

Cuomo said the plan does not help the middle class, and is the “old style, conservative trickle-down theory.” He said the plan will gut the taxes for the rich, and rich corporations.

“They stayed up through the night to pass the ‘Help the Rich People Tax Plan,'” Cuomo said. “Why didn’t you pass the ‘Help the Desperate People of Puerto Rico Recovery Act?’ Their priorities are totally misplaced.”

Cuomo said the tax reform bill will be “devastating for New York,” due to the tax cuts being focused on the rich.

Reed will hold a town hall meeting Saturday, Dec. 16, in Kennedy, at which time he is likely to discuss the tax reform bill.