Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Politics

Senator Nelson on tax reform bill: Small business will ‘get it in the neck.’

TAMPA ó A week ahead of the expected vote on a controversial tax reform bill, U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., visited Tampa to deliver a message to small businesses: This bill will hurt you.

"Small businesses are the economic engine of Florida," said Nelson, a Democrat. With this bill, "they get it in the neck."

The senators discussed the tax reform bill at a meeting with 24 local business leaders, six chamber of commerce representatives and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

The broad strokes of the Senateís 558-page bill include a large reduction in taxes for corporations, a repeal of the requirement for individuals to purchase health care and a larger child tax credit.

It also takes away state and local tax deductions, and the deduction on interest paid on home equity loans.

"This bill would sock an awful lot of people in Oregon and Florida in the wallet right as theyíre reaching for the drumsticks and the cranberry sauce this week," Wyden said.

One of the biggest changes in the proposed Senate bill: cutting the top end of the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent.

If adopted, Nelson said, small businesses will be taxed at an average of 32 percent. That has some Tampa Bay business owners worried.

"We canít compete with larger corps if they pay 20 percent taxes and weíre paying 32 or 35 percent," said Brian Butler, CEO of Vistra, a Tampa-based communications firm.

The Joint Committee on Taxation also projected that such a reduction could cost about $1.33 trillion over the next decade.

Republican senators argue that the bill is a way to help put more money back in peopleís pockets. Reducing the tax rate, they say, would allow businesses to allocate money to areas like wages, while not being required to have health care would save money for people with few medical issues.

To pay for the corporate tax cut, which would be permanent, individual tax cuts would fade out over a few years. Households with an income under $75,000 will see an increase in taxes by 2027, according to a report published last week by the Joint Committee on Taxation, a nonpartisan congressional committee.

The most controversial aspect of the Senate bill is a provision that does away with the Affordable Care Actís individual mandate, which requires everyone to purchase health care insurance.

Itís one of the chief concerns for Mickey Jacob, chief marketing officer of Tampa-based BDG Architects. Health care is one of his largest costs.

"Itís hard because in my world I have to compete with the big guys," he said.

Health care coverage is one of the benefits he relies on to attract and retain younger employees. Those costs could go up if premiums overall rise because there are fewer people buying into the health insurance pool.

"Our ability to continue to offer benefits to them that donít have to come out of their after-tax dollars .?.?. is a huge deal for us," Jacob said.

Last week, the House passed its own version of a tax reform bill by a 227-205 vote.

The Senate bill is expected to be brought to the floor shortly after the Thanksgiving weekend. Ahead of the vote, Nelson and Wyden are calling for greater bipartisanship on the bill to avoid having to change the bill when another political party has power.

"When they take over everything goes out the window and you start all over again," Wyden said.

Contact Malena Carollo at (727) 892-2249 or [email protected] Follow @malenacarollo.

Comments
Tax package would lower top tax rate for wealthy Americans

Tax package would lower top tax rate for wealthy Americans

WASHINGTON ó Congressional Republicans on Tuesday rushed toward a deal on a massive tax package that would reduce the top tax rate for wealthy Americans to 37 percent and slash the corporate rate to a level slightly higher than what businesses and co...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Trump signs $700 billion military budget into law

Trump signs $700 billion military budget into law

WASHINGTON ó President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed into law a sweeping defense policy bill that authorizes a $700 billion budget for the military, including additional spending on missile defense programs to counter North Koreaís growing nuclear w...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Donald Trump Jr. demands inquiry of House Intelligence Committee leak

Donald Trump Jr. demands inquiry of House Intelligence Committee leak

WASHINGTON ó Donald Trump Jr., the presidentís eldest son, has asked the House Intelligence Committee to open an investigation into leaked information related to his closed interview with the committee last week."To maintain the credibility of the in...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Original Watergate lock that burglars picked open is going to auction

Original Watergate lock that burglars picked open is going to auction

WASHINGTON -ó Itís the lock that launched a two-year investigation and took down a president. And now more than four decades later ó and for a starting bid of $50,000 ó it can be a really wonky conversation piece.Nate D. Sanders Auctions will auction...
Published: 12/12/17
Democrats say Trumpís tweets about Gillibrand sexist, unsavory

Democrats say Trumpís tweets about Gillibrand sexist, unsavory

WASHINGTON ó Plowing into the sexual harassment debate in a big way, President Donald Trump laced into Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Tuesday, tweeting that the New York Democrat would come to his office "begging" for campaign contributions and "do anyth...
Published: 12/12/17
Obama, Biden and Trump make late pushes in Alabama Senate race

Obama, Biden and Trump make late pushes in Alabama Senate race

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ó National political leaders, a Hollywood actress and a retired basketball star made last-ditch efforts to woo voters in the Alabama Senate race Monday, as the candidates gave their final arguments in a pivotal special election that ...
Published: 12/12/17
PolitiFact: Looking back at the Trump teamís falsehoods of 2017

PolitiFact: Looking back at the Trump teamís falsehoods of 2017

President Donald Trump made many inaccurate statements in 2017. His White House team seems to be following in his footsteps when defending him. Some of Trumpís staffers have made the argument that it is valid to use inaccurate facts to bolster larger...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17
PolitiFact: Notable misstatements about Donald Trump from 2017

PolitiFact: Notable misstatements about Donald Trump from 2017

President Donald Trump’s words can be at odds with reality, a fact we’ve documented again and again during his first year in office. His claim that the Trump-Russia investigation is a "made-up story" earned Trump our 2017 Lie of the Year....
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17
Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority plays beat the clock on GOP tax bill

Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority plays beat the clock on GOP tax bill

TAMPA ó With the Republican tax bill poised to eliminate the opportunity, the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority on Monday said it had refinanced a big chunk of its debt to save money in the future.The authority borrowed $152 million from the bo...
Published: 12/11/17
Alabama Senate race, unlikely nail biter, races to finish line

Alabama Senate race, unlikely nail biter, races to finish line

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ó In a blur of television ads, conflicting polls and presidential tweets, Doug Jones and Roy Moore raced Monday to make their final pleas in Alabamaís special election for the Senate, with both candidates focused on turning out their...
Published: 12/11/17