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Mixed reaction from Fox Valley-area lawmakers to House approval of GOP tax plan

Nov 16, 2017
In The News

Local Congressional members toed the political party line Thursday when the U.S. House voted 227-205 in support of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which calls for major changes in the personal and corporate tax structure.

The nearly $1.5 trillion tax overhaul drawn up by the GOP would lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, cap the deduction for property taxes at $10,000, and eliminate the deduction for state and local income tax and sales tax.

The measure would also double the threshold for the estate tax, bringing it to about $11 million for individuals and $22 million for couples.

Democrats have argued the measure disproportionately benefits wealthy and corporate taxpayers.

U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, voted against the measure, calling it as a "disaster" for Illinois residents who rely on state and local tax deductions.

"I opposed the Republican tax plan because it will raise taxes on middle class families in Illinois, slash Medicare by 25 billion dollars next year, and pass on trillions of additional debt for our children to pay — all in order to provide massive permanent tax breaks for large corporations and the very wealthy," Foster said in an emailed statement.

"Rather than an honest attempt to simplify and reform our tax code, this bill is an excuse to give wealthy families and their children a permanent tax break while increasing the national debt by trillions of dollars."

U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Plano, voted in support of the measure and praised it for helping to bring relief to Illinois' economy.

"This bill provides tax cuts for the middle class, low-income Americans and U.S. businesses of all sizes — from homebuilders to contractors to farmers and small businesses in Illinois," Hultgren said. "Comprehensive tax reform is long overdue, and this bill provides significant relief to people in Illinois and across the country."

U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Schaumburg Democrat, disagreed, calling it a "ticking tax bomb" that, with the elimination of the state and local income tax deduction, would increase Illinois' budget troubles.

"This irresponsible bill would raise taxes on 38 million middle-class Americans and explode the deficit by $1.5 trillion," Krishnamoorthi said in a statement. "In my district in Illinois, the average family will see an $1,100 tax increase within five years."

U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, a Wheaton Republican, and chairman of the Tax Policy Subcommittee on Ways and Means, voted in favor of the measure, which he says ends "the status quo."

"Today the House voted to reject the old way of doing things and support the most significant tax overhaul in over 30 years that will help hardworking families and small businesses around the country," Roskam said in an emailed statement.

"We're boosting the economy to create more good-paying jobs, and we're making sure that taxpayers get to keep more of their money in every paycheck."

Still, members of a coalition that have been critical of Roskam see the reform measure as a detriment to people who are not wealthy.

"We feel pretty strongly that this tax scam roasts the middle class," said Reid McCollum, a leader with The Coalition for a Better Illinois 6th. The coalition sees the tax reform measure as " a handout to the wealthy."

"Trickle down economics has been proven for decades not to work," McCollum said. "It's been totally debunked. This will bankrupt Illinois."

The coalition has a protest planned for 6 p.m. Thursday outside the Downers Grove Township Republican Organization's Reagan Day Dinner fundraiser where Roskam is scheduled as the keynote speaker.