WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito says she is ready to vote in favor of the tax reform package expected to be reported to lawmakers this week and voted on next week.
“I am in on the bill,” said Capito on Thursday’s edition of MetroNews Talkline. “I think tax reform is a win for West Virginia, for our economy, our businesses and individuals. It’s pro growth.”
The two versions of the measure passed by the House and Senate are being merged into a single bill by the Conference Committee. Reports this week indicated the two sides have reached a compromise on most of the large matters in the legislation and were hammering out the final details on Thursday. .
Capito believed there would be something there for everyone in West Virginia. She said the doubling of the standard deduction will be the one change which will affect the largest number of tax payers in the Mountain State.
“In West Virginia 83 percent of people file without taking itemization,” she explained. “The predictions are that will go over 90 percent with the doubling of the standard deduction and the doubling of the child tax credit which hits a lot of families in the state.”
The Corporate Tax rate would also drop. Some opponents have been critical of the measure and believe the biggest benefits of the entire tax reform package will be to corporations and the richest Americans. Capito disagreed and said average West Virginians will see true benefits even in that part of the bill by keeping more jobs in the state.
“We need American companies to be globally competitive. Whether it’s Dupont or Dow or Proctor and Gamble, large companies that manufacture goods in West Virginia and sell them all over the world,” she said. “If we’re not competitive–which we have not been–then it’s costing us jobs and it’s costing us reinvestment dollars.”
Murray Energy President and CEO Bob Murray raised a lot of issue with the corporate alternative minimum tax in the Senate version of the tax reform bill. Unless changed, he feared it could put a huge new burden on the coal industry.
“My understanding the concerns that were raised have been addressed,” Capito said. “The issues of how it could affect the coal industry in general and companies in how they are leveraged has been eliminated.”
Capito added she also believed the measure would maintain the Senate bill’s language which removed the individual mandate to buy health insurance. The lynch pin of the Obamacare plan was the individual mandate and removing it will cost as many as 13 Million Americans their healthcare benefits according to some analysts. Capito said whether that happens becomes a choice.
“What people need to understand is you’re not going to be taxed if you do not buy insurance,” she explained. “If you make a choice that you can’t afford insurance or you don’t care to get insurance, you’re not going to pay a tax to the government. It doesn’t preclude anybody, Medicaid stays exactly the same. Subsidies stay exactly the same, but you’re not going to get taxed if you make a personal choice that you’re not going to purchase insurance.”
Capito expected the final bill to be out of the Conference Committee by Friday and excepted a vote next week prior the Christmas recess for Congress.