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National tax debate hits home

Newhouse favors, Inslee opposes plan

— Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee and Republican Congressman Dan Newhouse of Sunnyside are on opposite sides of the income tax debate.

Last week, congressional Republicans unveiled a plan to revamp federal income taxes.

“The Republican tax plan is yet another giveaway to the wealthiest taxpayers paid for by the middle class,” Inslee said in a written statement.

“For the first time in more than 30 years, we have the historic opportunity for major reform to the tax code to reduce the burden on American families,” Newhouse said in his own written statement.

Inslee said the proposal to eliminate the state and local sales tax deduction would impact more than 800,000 Washingtonians who use this deduction to reduce their federal tax bill.

“This proposal would increase their federal taxes by hundreds of dollars per year, on average, and it would pressure our state and local governments to slash important services that our communities rely upon, like education, health care and public safety,” he said.

Under the Republican plan, Newhouse said, a typical middle-income family of four that earns the median household income will receive a $1,182 tax cut.

“Our plan allows American small businesses and corporations to be more competitive and hire more workers,” he said.

Inslee is concerned about the proposed repeal of tax deductions for health care expenses, student loan interest, and other current federal tax benefits that support the middle class and our state’s economy.

“We should all be frustrated that, much like they tried and failed to do in their efforts to repeal health care, Republican leaders plan to jam this bill through Congress without any public input that is essential to shaping thoughtful public policy,” he said.

Newhouse said “the fast facts” about the Republican plan are:

It lowers individual tax rates for low- and middle-income Americans to zero, 12 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent so people can keep more of the money they earn throughout their lives, and continues to maintain 39.6 percent for high-income Americans.

It significantly increases the standard deduction to protect roughly double the amount of what Americans earn each year from taxes – from $6,350 to $12,000 for individuals and $12,700 to $24,000 for married couples.

It expands the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $1,600 to help parents with the cost of raising children and providing a credit of $300 for each parent and non-child dependent to help all families with their everyday expenses.

It preserves the home mortgage interest deduction for existing mortgages and maintains the home mortgage interest deduction for newly purchased homes up to $500,000 – providing tax relief to current and aspiring homeowners.

It continues to allow people to write off cost of state and local property taxes up to $10,000.

Inslee doesn’t like any of the plan, especially as he sees the Republicans trying to pass it.

“Congress should reject this proposal and instead join Arizona Senator John McCain in calling for any approach to tax reform to be bipartisan and to follow regular order.”

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