Gov. Brown 'appalled' by GOP tax plan's passage

Merkley also blasts it; Walden defends it

WASHINGTON - (Update: Adding Gov. Brown statement)

Oregon Governor Kate Brown today released the following statement Wednesday following Congress' vote to approve the Republican tax plan:

"I am absolutely appalled. Congress just approved the Republican tax plan, and it's now headed to the White House for signature. This massive tax deal gives big corporations and the wealthy elite a break, while adding over a trillion dollars to the national debt that our kids will have to pay.

"What’s deeply troubling is that this plan was rushed through with next to no analysis, while states like Oregon are left to sort out the mess. Thousands of Oregonians stand to lose access to the life-saving healthcare they rely on. And while Republicans work so hard to shove this bill through, they have still failed to take the obvious step to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP), which provides access to care for over 80,000 children and pregnant women in Oregon. This is absolutely unacceptable.

"We must be focused on improving the lives of working families instead of legislating special favors for the wealthy and corporate interests. I have directed our Department of Revenue and Office of Economic Analysis to provide an analysis of how the Republican tax plan will impact Oregonians. That work is expected to be completed in the coming days, which will give us a clearer picture of Oregon’s economic future. Stay tuned."

Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement early Wednesday after Senate Republicans narrowly passed a bill along party lines that he said will give trillions of dollars to the wealthiest Americans and demolish health care for millions of Americans:

“The Senate Republicans just pulled off the biggest bank heist in history. And they’re delivering the loot – more than a trillion dollars out of our national treasury – to the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations.

“This is government by and for the powerful instead of government by and for the people. It is the culmination of elections corrupted by dark money from the Koch Cartel.

“While the rich gloat over their gold, middle-class Americans get coal in their stockings. This tax scam so favors the wealthy that 83% of the benefits go to the richest 1%. It sends jobs overseas. It increases our national debt. It destroys health care for 13 million Americans while raising the cost of health insurance for millions more. 

“And the GOP has made it clear that in order to pay for this massive heist, they are coming next to raid Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

“Just imagine the good we could have done for middle-class America if we had invested the same resources in jobs, health care and education!” Merkley concluded.

Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., meanwhile, applauded House passage of the measure, in this news release:

Continuing his efforts to provide tax relief for middle-class families and boost job growth in Oregon, Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) today voted to pass landmark tax reform through the House of Representatives. Walden applauded the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1), and said the historic legislation is a win for hard-working Oregon taxpayers and job creators.

“I want to thank the nearly 2,000 Oregonians who called and wrote to me over the last month with suggestions on how we could improve the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to better fit our needs in Oregon,” said Walden.  “The measure Congress will send to the President this week means that a hardworking family of four in eastern Oregon that earns about $50,000 a year -- which is the median household income in my district -- will receive a tax break of about $1,300 compared to the existing law. 

"Instead of a bloated federal government taking and spending your money, I want families to keep more of what they earn.  That’s $10,400 in lower federal income taxes over the next eight years for that one family.”

Based on feedback from Oregonians, Walden worked alongside leaders in both the House and Senate to incorporate changes into the final agreement. Importantly, the bill passed today includes specific provisions particularly important for Oregonians including:

State and Local Tax Deductions: Oregonians who itemize their taxes will be able to deduct a combined $10,000 in state property and income taxes
Private Activity Bonds: Preserves the tax-exempt private activity bonds used to support economic development and affordable housing projects in Oregon.
Student Loan Interest: Preserves the tax deduction for interest paid on federal student loans
Medical Expense Deduction: Preserves the ability for Oregonians who itemize to deduct qualified medical expenses
Craft Beverage Modernization: Reduces excise taxes on small craft brewers and winemakers in Oregon
Corporate Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT): Repeals the corporate alternative minimum tax, which is important for large employers in Oregon like Nike

“The long and public process allowed people from across the country, and especially here at home in Oregon, to help shape and improve this historic legislation,” concluded Walden. “Today, the Washington special interest lobbyists lost, and the hard-working American taxpayers and job creators won.”

According to data from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and reports from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will positively impact Oregon by:

Benefits for Oregon's Second District

Doubled Standard Deduction: 224,588 (68%) taxpayers in the 2nd District take the standard deduction under current law. By doubling the standard deduction, these taxpayers will see an immediate tax break under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Increased Child Tax Credit: 50,193 taxpayers in the 2nd District claim the child tax credit. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doubles the child tax credit from $1,000 per child to $2,000.

Tax Relief for Small Businesses: 50,650 taxpayers in the 2nd District have small business income (a business that the taxpayer operated). The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduces taxes for small business owners by providing a 20 percent tax deduction on the first $315,000 of income.

Simpler Taxes: 104,189 taxpayers in the 2nd District itemize their taxes. As a result of the near doubling of the standard deduction and other simplifications, many taxpayers will have much simpler returns. It is estimated that 9 out of 10 Americans will be able to file their taxes on a postcard.

For more information on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, please click here.

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