U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler met with a small group of Cass County residents, including local business owners, Tuesday in downtown Belton to talk tax reform and get feedback.
Hartzler came to Belton weeks after the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers released a tax reform plan. In handouts distributed by Hartzler’s office, the GOP tax reform framework said it would “provide more jobs, fairer taxes, and bigger paychecks,” by lowering tax rates for individuals and families, doubling the standard deduction, repealing the death tax, eliminating special interest loopholes, lowering the corporate tax rate and lowering the tax rate for small business owners, among other things.
The Republican legislator from Cass County said the goal for House GOP members is to pass a tax bill in the coming weeks that, after going through the Senate, reaches President Donald Trump’s desk by Christmas.
“It’s a very aggressive schedule,” Hartzler said. “We’ll see if that’s able to be fulfilled or not, but I think it’s a good plan.”
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Hartzler recited points from the plan that she said will help middle-class citizens — from young adults starting careers and buying homes, to older adults getting ready for retirement.
An analysis by the Tax Policy Center claimed earlier this month concluded that low-income households would see little benefit from the plan.
Bev Bruce, who runs The Tearoom by Country Keepsakes in downtown Belton, was one of the few local business owners at Belton City Hall to talk with Hartzler. Bruce questioned if the tax reform plan could receive bipartisan support in Congress.
“As far as what I’ve heard, as far as the Democrats, they think that it benefits more of the wealthy, and this theory of helping the lower- or middle-class is not going to work,” Bruce said. “Do you think there’s any chance that you all can come to an agreement? Because so far, you have not been able to agree on very much.”
Hartzler defended the plan in response, adding that some details of the plan remain incomplete.
“I think when they come out with actual scenarios and the online tax thing, that will help set some of this to rest,” Hartzler said. “... When you look at this specifically, they have geared this to make sure that it helps everyone and specifically the middle-class by doubling the standard deduction and by increasing the child tax credit, lowering the rates. ... The facts don’t back up their claims.”
When asked to weigh in, Belton Mayor Jeff Davis said he wants to see relief for the middle-class and to bring industrial businesses back into the country, especially in Cass County.
“Making sound economic decisions on the national level will help everybody in the country,” Davis said. “I think — it’s an old saying as a coach — right or wrong, do something to make something happen in a positive way for the citizens of the United States. And I think that this has been thought out.”