CHARLESTON, W.Va. — With both chambers in the U.S. Congress looking to take up tax reform, U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., spoke Wednesday at the University of Charleston about what would be included in the House framework to be unveiled next week.
Mooney spoke at an event hosted by the West Virginia chapter of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political advocacy group funded by billionaires David and Charles Koch. Around 20 attendees listened to Mooney, AFP Director of Federal Affairs Mary Kate Hopkins and AFP-WV State Director Jason Huffman speak about the benefits of improving the tax system as well as the importance of the issue to President Donald Trump.
While the specific plan is still being developed, Mooney said the tax tiers in the new plan will decrease from seven to three with rates of 12, 25 and 33 or 35 percent.
“Because of the standard deduction going up, everyone who is going to go from 10 to 12 (percent) is going to receive a tax cut,” he explained. “I do think all brackets need to be consolidated.”
Mooney did not say how the brackets would be divided.
“Whatever the brackets you’re in now, your taxes wouldn’t go up. That’s the principle of it,” he said.
Each attendee also received an example of a “postcard” tax filing sheet, with space available for taxpayers to write 13 different monetary amounts — including income, child credit and charitable contributions — in order to come up with the amount owed in taxes or the refund due to that person from the federal government.
Mooney said corporations would also benefit with a rate lower than the current tax rate of 35 percent, though that rate has yet to be set; Trump has put forward a proposal of 15 percent, while House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said the goal is to be at or below the industrial world average of 22.5 percent. Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said it may be possible to get the rate as low as 20 percent.
Mooney said tax reform is an important concern for the president, adding Trump wants to remove loopholes for companies as well as simplify the tax code.
“I think we’re very much on the same page,” Mooney said of Trump. “I believe this president wants to get stuff done and ‘drain the swamp’ and all that. I support what he’s trying to do and will help him as much as I can.”
He, Hopkins and Huffman also discussed the problems of the current system, with criticisms including how it is aimed at benefiting special interests, and the president’s goals on the issue.
Mooney noted Trump has invited people to the White House and talked to legislators about what policies need to be addressed.
“One of the criticisms I heard from my Democratic colleagues was that President Obama didn’t spend enough time with them,” he added.
Mooney will be in Charleston again Thursday to take part in West Virginia on the Rise, an event hosted by the American Conservative Union Foundation that was described on the event’s page as “a forum to develop solutions to improve the economy and daily lives of West Virginians.” U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey are also scheduled to attend the event at the Four Points by Sheraton.