West Virginia reps talk tax reform plan

WASHINGTON — West Virginia’s congressional delegation has weighed in on a tax reform plan proposed by President Trump and House and Senate Republicans.

The plan reduces the number of personal income tax brackets while lowering the top rate and raising the bottom rate, drops the corporate income tax and eliminates the estate tax, among other proposals.

“For the first time in decades, we have an opportunity to advance tax reforms that will transform our economy, put more money in the pockets of hardworking Americans, create good-paying jobs, and empower small businesses to grow and expand,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said.

Capito Wednesday participated in the announcement with Republican congressional leaders when the framework for the plan was announced.

“States like West Virginia have been hit hard by a struggling economy and stagnant wages, but this framework lays out the path to a brighter future. Comprehensive, pro-growth tax reform will help deliver the relief so many families and communities in our state desperately need and create new opportunities for our children and grandchildren,” she said. “This is our chance to foster a new age of American prosperity.”

The plan will help middle class families and make America more competitive, Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., said.

“Our tax code is broken,” McKinley said. “It’s been more than 30 years since we last updated the tax system, and the time is now to fix it.”

The framework includes reforms to protect American jobs and allow American companies to compete on an even playing field with China and other foreign competitors, he said.

“Our current system jeopardizes American jobs by giving companies reason to move off-shore,” said McKinley. “By lowering taxes for small and family-owned businesses and making the rates American companies pay more in line with the rest of the world, we will help protect jobs and make America more competitive.”

Congressional hearings will be held, but the “framework is an important first step,” McKinley said.

“When I went to the White House to speak with President Trump about tax reform, I outlined common sense principles that I believe should be in any tax reform package and told him I would work with him, his administration and Republicans to make sure that tax reform is done on a bipartisan basis,” Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said.

“I commend the president for putting this framework forward and seeking help from Congress in ensuring that this tax reform works for America’s working families. I believe that we can reform our tax system correctly if we work together in regular order and vote on a piece legislation that both sides can be proud of,” Manchin said.

Rep. Alex X. Mooney, R-W.Va., said he shares Trump’s commitment to lower taxes “so that we can kick-start the economy and bring good paying jobs back to West Virginia.”

“I look forward to reviewing all of the details of the tax reform proposal and evaluating its impacts on West Virginia taxpayers,” Mooney said.

Points in the tax reform proposal are:

* Reduces the number of individual income tax rates from seven to three, which are proposed at 12 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent. Income ranges have yet to be set. Top rate drops from 39.6 percent, but there are provisions to add a fourth rate.

The 12 percent bottom rate is above the existing 10 percent rate.

* The standard deduction is doubled to $24,000 for married couples and $12,000 for single filers.

* Increases the child tax credit at a yet-to-be-determined amount and lowers income thresholds so more people can qualify.

* Eliminates most itemized deductions, such as for state and local taxes, and eliminates the personal exemption of $4,050 per person.

* Keeps the tax incentives encouraging home buying, retirement accounts, charitable donations and college.

* Repeals the Alternative Minimum Tax, which impacts wage earners in the $200,000 and $1 million range.

* Eliminates the estate tax.

* Reduces the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent and changes how multinational companies are taxed, but there would be an undetermined minimum foreign tax.