Opinion: Tax reform is next on the agenda

Cropped Photo: Pictures of Money / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

EDITOR'S NOTE: Boris Epshteyn formerly served as a Senior Advisor to the Trump Campaign and served in the White House as Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - Washington, D.C., the beltway, has been locked in on healthcare reform. And It’s easy to get swept up in the coverage of that one hot topic.

The fact is, Americans care deeply about multiple fronts that impact their day-to-day lives. Tax reform was a vital part of the campaign and remains a key concern for Americans.

So, let’s break it down. Where do we stand on taxes and what is the expected timeline?

In April of this year, the White House released a one-page memo highlighting some of their goals for tax reform.

One of the biggest changes to the current tax code in the memo is to take the seven current tax brackets and reduce it to three brackets: 10 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent.

The White House also wants to double the so-called standard deduction, so that a married couple won’t pay any taxes on the first $24,000 of their income, and lower the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15%.

The White House and Republicans in Congress are on board with getting tax reform bills passed by the end of 2017.

However, a delay in getting a healthcare bill passed will delay tax reform as well.

The GOP moved on healthcare first partly due to Senate rules and partly because repealing and replacing "Obamacare" would help reduce federal deficits and allow more room so that tax reform wouldn’t have to be revenue neutral.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said that they are working with the administration now to come up a “transformational tax reform plan.”

So, why is tax reform so important?

"But if we are going to truly fix our tax code, we have to fix all of it—both for individuals and businesses. Why? Because this will create jobs," Ryan said in a speech last week.

There is criticism from Democrats who contend that the proposed changes would primarily provide a tax cut for the wealthy and unnecessarily expand the deficit.

Having said that, there are those in the administration who see the potential for some bipartisan, yes bipartisan, support for tax overhaul.

The administration, together with the House and Senate, are continuing to forge ahead on making real change to the tax code. It is clear that there is a commitment to tax reform. However, it does appear that the repeal and replace of "Obamacare" has to get done first, with tax reform following right behind. That’s the Bottom Line.

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