Lawmakers should send bill to Trump

It appears a very large flaw in plans to grant Americans relief from taxes that have dragged our economy down for years has been corrected.

As we reported, approval of a tax package by the U.S. Senate came as a shock to some business people, including Murray Energy Corp. head Bob Murray. His coal mines employ thousands of men and women in several states.

Tax code changes approved by the House of Representatives included elimination of the Alternative Minimum Tax. As we have noted, the AMT is disliked widely by both individuals and businesses, with good reason. For many taxpayers — about 3.9 million a year — the AMT kicks in to increase tax liability over and above what they would have paid under other tax laws.

In effect, the AMT was a knee-jerk reaction by some lawmakers in 1982 that, even if they followed all the other rules, they were not sending enough money to Washington.

Murray estimated that if it had been left in place, it could have cost his company $60 million a year. Obviously, that would be a crushing blow to any business affected by the AMT.

House and Senate negotiators who crafted a reconciliation bill, the one to be voted on this week, took that into consideration. Reportedly, AMT provisions affecting businesses have been altered to eliminate the problem.

Elsewhere in the compromise bill, job creators, individuals and families have much about which to be happy. Investors and corporations would receive relief they have needed for years. The corporate tax rate of 35 percent, the highest in the industrialized world, would be dropped to a competitive 21 percent.

Big-government lawmakers who favor no tax relief for anyone have cloaked their opposition in claims the current plan would help only the rich.

That simply is not true. Middle-income families would get meaningful breaks. Increasing the standard deduction to $24,000 for married couples could, by itself, save some taxpayers thousands of dollars a year.

Is the new bill perfect? Of course not. What, originating in Washington, is?

But the plan is a good one. If enacted, it would make life better for the overwhelming majority of Americans. For that reason, we urge lawmakers from Ohio to vote for it and get the measure on President Donald Trump’s desk by Christmas.

Our representatives and senators should look at it this way: How often, in your jobs, do you get to play Santa Claus?

editorial@tribtoday.com

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