Monday, December 18, 2017

GOP tax plan lowers rates, repeals popular breaks

WASHINGTON — A sweeping House Republican plan to overhaul the nation's tax laws would wipe out a slew of popular tax breaks to help pay for lower overall tax rates, a politically risky move in an election year that drew quick opposition Wednesday.

The plan would repeal deductions for state and local taxes, medical expenses and moving expenses. Tax credits for child care, adoption services and energy-efficient upgrades to homes would be gone.

The mortgage interest deduction would be reduced for people buying houses costing more than $500,000. The deduction for charitable giving would be limited to contributions that exceed 2 percent of a taxpayer's income.

In exchange, income tax rates would be cut, and the standard deduction, which is used by most taxpayers, would be nearly doubled. The child tax credit would be increased, and a complicated series of tax breaks for education expenses would be consolidated and simplified.

"We need to be the party of growth, opportunity, restoring the American dream. And I think this is something Americans have hungered for," said the plan's author, Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee. "Look, we have an obligation to debate the big issues of the day."

Democrats pointed out cherished tax breaks that would be cut.

"Any proposal that eliminates the deduction for state and local taxes, as the Republican plan would do, is dead on arrival," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, already wary of some of the unpleasant details, would not promise a vote in the House this year.

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