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Illinois delegation explains votes on tax bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Members of the Illinois delegation split along party lines in Congress’ vote to reform the tax system of the United States.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, said reforms are needed, but these are the wrong measures.

“I’ve long said we need to reform our tax system, but it can’t just help mega-corporations and Donald Trump’s friends and family — it needs to focus on the small businesses that drive our state’s economy and hardworking families as well,” she said.

The bill gives permanent tax cuts to the wealthiest people and leaves the small businesses at a competitive disadvantage, she said. It will double-tax Illinoisans by limiting the state and local tax deduction that millions of working families rely on.

“This is a bad deal for our state and for everyone who isn’t a multimillionaire, tax lawyer or corporate CEO,” she said.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, took just the opposite tact in describing the measure.

 “This bill cuts taxes for individuals at every income level and the numbers do not lie, this is a bill that focuses on middle-income earners,” said Davis. “By doubling the standard deduction, the first $12,000 of a single filer and $24,000 of a couple’s income will be tax free,” he said.

He pointed out the reforms also double the Child Tax Credit to $2,000 for each child and make more families eligible to receive it.

This bill maintains popular deductions for things like home mortgages, medical expenses, state and local taxes with “a reasonable cap,” and others, he said.

“Because of these important provisions, the average family of four making the country’s median income of $73,000 will receive a $2,000 tax cut,” Davis said.

U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphrysboro, also voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which is considered the biggest reform of America’s tax code in 31 years:

“There were two major things that I wanted to accomplish for Southern Illinois through tax reform: growing jobs and growing paychecks. This tax reform bill paves the way for both,” he said. “We’ve reformed the tax code to let working families keep more of their paycheck to spend as they see fit. Whether that be saving for college, raising a family, or preparing for a rainy day, I trust the taxpayers to keep a closer eye on their hard-earned dollars than any Washington bureaucrat ever will. We’ve also taken steps to encourage businesses large and small to expand operations at home and invest in the American worker.”

For individuals and families, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

• Lowers individual taxes and sets the rates so people can keep more of their money.
• Doubles the standard deduction from $6,500 to $13,000 for individuals and $12,000 to $24,000 for married couples.
• Continues to allow people to write off the cost of state and local taxes – up to $10,000.
• Doubles the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $2,000.
• Provides support for graduate students by continuing to exempt the value of reduced tuition from taxes.
• Retains popular retirement savings options such as 401(k)s and Individual Retirement Accounts.
• Preserves the mortgage interest deduction.
• Provides relief for Americans with expensive medical bills by expanding the medical expense deduction.

For job creators of all sizes, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

• Lowers the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percents.
• Allows businesses to immediately write off the full cost of new equipment to improve operations and enhance the skills of their workers.
• Establishes safeguards to distinguish between individual wage income and “pass-through” business income.
• Prevents American jobs, headquarters, and research from moving overseas by eliminating incentives that now reward companies for shifting jobs, profits, and manufacturing plants abroad.

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