How the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will affect average income earners and small businesses depends on who you ask, as reaction in the days following its passage is as partisan as the votes taken to get the bill through Congress.
Will it signal the apocalypse, as suggested by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, or lead to job creation, innovation and economic growth as believed by supporters?
U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, a Republican from Carbondale who represents the state’s 12th congressional district, voted for passage of the tax reform bill.
He stated that job creators will see historic tax relief that will help their businesses succeed and grow. Bost also cited statistics from Washington-based Tax Foundation which forecasts the creation of nearly 340,000 new full-time jobs over time due to the new tax code.
“American businesses large and small will have the lowest tax rates in modern history, allowing them to keep more money to grow and create new jobs,” Bost stated.
Democrat Brendan Kelly, St. Clair County State’s Attorney running opposite Bost in the general election, called passage of the tax bill an effort that mostly helps “the powerful few.”
“This is a wasted opportunity to simplify an overly complex tax code and put middle class families in Southern Illinois first,” Kelly stated. “Instead, this mostly helps the powerful few, handing them whole new ways to rig the system, burdening our children with over a trillion in additional debt, raising taxes on many middle class families, and setting up massive cuts to Social Security and Medicare.”
Republican Congressman Rodney Davis, representing the 13th congressional district, voted for the bill: “Our new tax code will incentivize more American companies and more American jobs.”
Reaction among a field of five Democrats competing in the primary to face Davis in the general election:
Jonathan Ebel, religion professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign: “It’s awful morally. It’s redistributing wealth up the income ladder, which is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing.”
Erik Jones, former assistant Illinois attorney general: “The bill has no teeth and is nothing more than a huge giveaway at the expense of the middle class and working families. It could also lead to tax increases for some, depending upon the deductions they take.”
Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, political fundraiser: “This tax scam was forced through Congress without any public hearings or testimony and was formed in a backroom alongside those who benefit the most: the top 1 percent and special interests.”
Republican Congressman John Shimkus of Collinsville, representing the 15th congressional district: “Increasing the standard deduction to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for married couples – nearly double the amounts available today – will protect far more of every paycheck from taxes and make tax filing dramatically simpler and easier for the American people.”
What do businessman-politicians running for state offices think of the bill?
“Anything” that puts more money into the pockets of people and simplifies the process of filing taxes are “good things,” according to Republican candidate for state Senate Jason Plummer. He said he believes the bill passed last week will result in positive benefits for individuals and small businesses.
Plummer, vice president of R.P. Lumber - a retail home center and building materials supplier - is seeking nomination to the 54th Senate District seat in the March primary. He will face fellow Republican contenders Rafael Him of New Baden, Benjamin Stratemeyer of Centralia and George Barber of Greenville.
The seat is currently held by State Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon). The winner of the primary election will likely go on to win the general election as no Democrat candidate filed petitions for the party’s nomination.
Plummer also took issue with reaction from the leading Democrat contender for governor, J.B. Pritzker, who said the tax bill would raise taxes on the middle class.
Pritzker, a Chicago billionaire whose family owns the Hyatt hotel chain and which is considered to be among the wealthiest in the country, said the “Trump” bill “demonstrates callous disregard for the American Dream, hiking taxes on our middle class to benefit the wealthy and corporations, leveraging our future by adding billions to the deficit, and stripping affordable healthcare from millions of families.”
In a field of three Democrats vying for governor, Pritzker has gained the most traction with a long list of endorsements from office holders and party officials over businessman Chris Kennedy and State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Skokie).
Plummer called Pritzker’s statement “shrill and demonstrably false.”
He said the Democrat candidate for governor ought to be focused on “the uncompetitive tax environment here in Illinois that is chasing thousands of our jobs out of state.”
Plummer further pointed out that high property taxes in the state, among the highest in the nation, are pricing Illinoisans out of their homes.
“We need leaders in Illinois who will fight for reduced real estate taxes and a business climate conducive to the creation of quality jobs so that families will stay and plant their roots, not a tax and spend liberal who thinks the middle class should bear the burden of ever higher taxes while he lines up special tax breaks for himself,” Plummer stated.