CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice said Monday he is supporting the efforts of President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans to pass legislation affecting the United States tax code.
Justice said in a statement a tax overhaul bill will provide average families with relief and also help “grow the country.”
“By simplifying and streamlining the tax filing process it lifts a huge burden off of the middle class. Higher standard deductions and lower rates for businesses will also encourage economic growth and the creation of jobs,” the governor said. “I urge our Congressional representatives to vote for this tax reform package so President Trump can sign it into law.”
The House of Representatives passed its version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on Nov. 16, with U.S. Reps. David McKinley, Alex Mooney and Evan Jenkins among the 227 Republicans who voted in favor of the bill. The legislation would consolidate the personal income tax brackets from the current seven to four, lower the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent and nearly double the standard deductible. It would also eliminate deductions on state and local taxes, student loans and medical expenses.
The U.S. Congressional Budget Office reported in a Nov. 13 letter the House bill would increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion over a 10-year window.
A vote on the Senate proposal is expected Thursday or Friday, with its future dependent on a vote by the Senate Committee on the Budget. Republican Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Bob Corker of Tennessee — both of whom are committee members — have threatened to vote against the bill, with possible opposition from one of them sinking the measure before it heads to a full chamber vote. Montana Sen. Steve Daines has also expressed concerns about the current measure.
The chamber’s version of the Tax Bills and Jobs Act includes a repeal of the current health care law’s individual mandate, delay the corporate tax rate deduction until 2019 and keeping the personal income tax brackets to seven with rate adjustments. The Senate plan would eliminate state and local tax deductions.
The CBO said in a Nov. 26 report the Senate bill would increase the deficit by more than $1.4 trillion from 2018 to 2027, with those making less than $75,000 a year would be worse off by 2027.
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W. Va., is in favor of the legislation, while Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has yet to release a statement on the measure. A request for comment regarding his position was not answered by the time of publication.