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Understanding Tax Code Reform

December 6, 2017
North Fort Myers Neighbor

To the editor:

As Congress hurriedly tries to produce a tax code law, it behooves us to try to understand what is being proposed. Our Congressman, Francis Rooney, is a strong supporter as outlined in his recent Guest Commentary. However, many people believe this is just a windfall for the wealthy and big donors and will do little for the middle class while adding $1.5 trillion to the debt. In the spirit of transparency and as an aid to understanding the tax code reform, I would challenge Mr. Rooney to tell us what this law would mean for him. We know he is a very wealthy man. Elimination of the estate tax would no doubt be a windfall of millions of dollars. Elimination of the alternative minimum tax (AMT) would probably mean more millions of dollars. Mr. Trump paid $31 million in AMT taxes in 2005, the most recent year we have any tax information on him. Since Mr. Rooney is a businessman, how many millions of dollars will the reduction of the business tax rate mean for him?

Beyond the windfall for the wealthy with a few dollars for SOME of the middle class, we need to understand "trickle down" economics. This fallacy predicts huge economic growth as a result of tax reduction. We need to understand what happened in Kansas after the state cut taxes in 2012 in a similar way to what is being proposed at the federal level. Economic growth and jobs promises never happened. Instead of a booming economy, Kansas residents witnessed a sharp decline in state revenues, sluggish growth and brutal cuts to government programs, education being the saddest. In 2017, Kansas legislators came together on a bipartisan basis to end the failed tax cut experiment. Do we need to run this experiment at the federal level? And then what happened after the Bush tax cuts?

There are, of course, many aspects of the proposed law we have not yet uncovered. For example, the GOP tax bill would repeal an amendment that prohibits churches from taking political stances. In some diverse congregations this would be so divisive that political stances would not be taken. However, some churches want and support this.

So again I would challenge our congressional representative to present to his constituents a factual and detailed account of how this tax law would affect him and us.

Gerry Trantina

Fort Myers Beach



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