Guidelines for tax reform released last week by the White House and congressional leaders are winning praise from most of Mississippi’s federal lawmakers.
President Donald Trump’s administration and key committees from the U.S. House and Senate have released a set of guidelines that sketch out a rough draft of legislation intended to overhaul the federal tax code for both individuals and corporations.
Both of Mississippi’s senators have indicated support for the ideas found in the document.
“I strongly support this bold plan to simplify the tax code, which would reduce the billions of hours and billions of dollars that Americans spend annually to file their taxes,” Wicker said. “This framework is an important starting point for new tax reform legislation in Congress, which will be debated and improved as it moves through the committee process.”
U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran has been recovering from treatment for urological issues but released a brief comment on the matter via social media.
“The tax reform framework unveiled today can promote economic growth,” read a message from Cochran’s Twitter account last Wednesday. “I’m excited about the possibilities for American families & businesses.”
Rep. Trent Kelly, who represents north Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District, released a statement of support to the Daily Journal.
“The proposal makes changes that would allow Mississippians to keep more of their hard earned money through lower rates for individuals and families,” Kelly said. “Businesses would be able to grow and create jobs. I look forward to working with President Trump and my colleagues to move this framework forward and get us to a simpler and fairer tax code that will create jobs.”
Rep. Gregg Harper, of the 3rd Congressional District, and Rep. Steven Palazzo, of the 4th Congressional District, have both indicated support for the ideas contained in the document released last week.
All the men named above are Republicans. The state’s lone Democratic federal representative, Bennie Thompson of the 2nd Congressional District, has not released any comment on tax reform thus far. His office did not immediately respond to a request for a statement.
The proposed framework calls for the reduction of the current seven tax brackets into three brackets of 12 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent.
Three brackets at this size would shrink the top bracket from its current high of 39.6 and slightly increase the lowest bracket from 10 percent.
At the same time, the framework calls for an increase in the standard deductions available to taxpayers, with $12,000 offered to single filers and $24,000 to married couples filing jointly.
Proponents behind the tax overhaul effort push claims that the increase of the lowest tax bracket will be offset by the increased standard deductions.
The written framework also briefly discusses the possibility of a higher top rate that may apply to the very highest taxpayers.
Though the standard deduction will increase, personal exemptions allowed for children will be eliminated in an effort to simplify filing and reduce complexity.
Child tax credits may increase to offset the loss of these personal exemptions, but a figure has not yet been determined for the larger credits.
Also up for elimination: most itemized deductions except those for charitable giving and home mortgage interest payments.
Critics of the tax proposal have contended that most of the benefits flow to wealthier taxpayers.
Some parents with children, for example, could stand to lose out from the loss of the personal exemptions for dependents if the child tax credit does not sufficiently increase.
Stated plans to slash corporate tax rates have also drawn ire, even as conservatives claim these cuts are necessary to maintain American competitiveness amid a global marketplace.