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Michigan legislators react to passage of tax reform legislation

By Jake Allen/The Holland Sentinel • Dec 20, 2017 at 8:11 PM

Congressional Republicans delivered an epic overhaul of U.S. tax laws to President Donald Trump on Wednesday, bringing generous tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans while providing smaller cuts for middle- and low-income families.

In a re-vote because of a last-minute hiccup, the House passed the massive $1.5 trillion tax package that affects everyone’s taxes but is dominated by breaks for business and higher earners. Democrats call the legislation a boon to the rich that leaves middle class and working Americans behind.

The vote was 224-201 and came hours after the Senate’s early morning passage along party lines.

It is the first major overhaul of the nation’s tax laws since 1986.

The bill would nearly double the standard deduction used by most taxpayers, while those who itemize would lose some deductions.

Rep. Bill Huizenga, R–Zeeland, released a statement after the vote and hosted a Facebook Live town hall on Tuesday to discuss the legislation. Huizenga took questions during the town hall, which lasted about 20 minutes.

“The simple fact is that we are going to be delivering true, real, hard-working taxpayer relief,” the congressman said. “This is going to bring real lower-class and middle-income tax relief to folks.”

Huizenga said the opportunity to support the legislation is a once-in-career opportunity. He said his goal was to deliver tax relief to lower- and middle-income folks and small businesses, and lower the corporate tax rate.

“This is a historic moment,” Huizenga said in a press release. “Our nation’s outdated and burdensome tax code hasn’t been reformed in three decades. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will deliver real tax relief for low- and middle-income families living paycheck to paycheck. By nearly doubling the standard deduction, doubling the child tax credit and lowering tax rates, hardworking middle-class taxpayers across West Michigan will be able to keep more of their hard-earned money instead of sending it to Washington.”

Huizenga said the legislation will strengthen the economy by cutting taxes on West Michigan small businesses and corporations.

Not all Michigan legislators have been supportive of the tax reform legislation. U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, expressed her opposition to the legislation.

“We need tax reform that puts more money in the pockets of the middle class, closes tax loopholes that send jobs overseas, and supports small businesses and farms across Michigan,” she said in a press release. “Unfortunately, this bill does none of these things. This bill actually raises taxes on middle-class families and seniors, and leaves Michigan families without health insurance to pay for huge tax giveaways for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. This was a missed opportunity to work together in a bipartisan way on real tax reform.”

Sen. Gary Peters, D-Michigan, expressed his opposition to the legislation before it was passed by Congress.

“Mr. President, I rise today to make a simple request of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle,” Peters said. “When it comes to the tax legislation that my colleagues are rushing through Congress, please, stop, slow down, and start over.”

Peters said tax reform needs clear policy goals to make the United States competitive, and disagrees with Republican passage of a partisan bill.

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St.Joseph, was in support of and voted in favor of the tax reform legislation.

“With this vote, historic tax reform is one step closer to reality,” the congressman said in a press release. “Here’s what our plan does for individuals — it significantly increases the standard deduction, it expands the Child Tax Credit, preserves the Adoption Tax Credit, preserves the mortgage interest deduction, expands the medical expense deduction, continues the charitable contribution deduction, and more.”

Upton said the legislation will eliminate incentives to move Michigan jobs overseas and deliver tax relief to small businesses.

The final step will be for Trump to sign the legislation into law.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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