Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., joined at right
by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady,
R-Texas, meets reporters just after passing the
Republican tax reform bill in the House of
Representatives, on Capitol Hill, in Washington,
Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017.
BROOKFIELD — The head of the Brookfield-based
Independent Business Association of Wisconsin hailed the
passage of the federal tax reform bill on Tuesday,
saying it will put more money in the pockets of small
businesses and their employees.
Republican-drafted legislation, which slashes the corporate income
tax rate — taking it from 35 to 21 percent — passed the House of
Representatives largely along party lines by a 227-203 vote Tuesday
afternoon. Senate Democrats, however, invoked a parliamentary
procedure, arguing that three provisions in the bill violated Senate
rules and must be removed. After that action, the Senate approved
the bill early this morning on a 51-48 party-line vote.
measure must return to the House today, where it is virtually
certain to be approved again.
“Any time you
can put more money back into corporate hands, that’s going to
trickle back down to not only workers, but expansion of equipment
and research and development,” said Steve Kohlmann, executive
director of the Independent Business Association of Wisconsin, which
represents businesses with 50 or more employees.
joined in his praise for the legislation by U.S. Rep. Jim
Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls.
by Congress is a huge step toward relief from the burden of an
over-reaching government,” wrote Sensenbrenner, who represents
Waukesha, in a statement. “Individuals, families, and businesses
across Wisconsin and across the country are in a better place than
they were yesterday.”
$1.5 trillion tax package is expected to touch every American
taxpayer and every corner of the U.S. economy, providing tax cuts
for businesses and the wealthy, as well as for middle- and
low-income families. The top tax rate for individuals would be
lowered from 39.6 percent to 37 percent. Many analysts have argued
that the legislation will also increase the national debt.
Proponents, however, have suggested its positive impact on the
economy will offset the increased deficit.
Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, said the results of the legislation, which
doubles both the child credit and the standard deduction used by
most families, would make it popular.
individual tax cuts would expire in 2026 in order to comply with
Senate budget rules, tax cuts for corporations would be permanent.
called the bill a giveaway to corporations and the wealthy, arguing
that there is little likelihood that business owners will use their
gains to hire more workers or raise wages.
said Tuesday that businesses will use
the money they pocket to reinvest
in their companies, including human resources.
“It’s not only
research and development, but it’s being able to hire workers, pay
benefits to those workers, and then offer higher wages to retain
those workers, and attract more workers,” he said. “There are three
things businesses are constantly fighting with: taxes, excessive
regulations, and health care. So we have chipped away at a big one.”
Waiting on details
Tom Fotsch, a
part owner and chief operating officer at Waukesha-based computer
and software manufacturer EmbedTek, said he wasn’t yet sure what the
what law might mean for his company, but said he believed the
“overall economic impact of the legislation” was positive.
EmbedTek is a
closely held corporation and it hasn’t been clear what changes will
be in store for those types of corporations, because the Senate and
House bills have different proposals, Fotsch said.
“It’s one of
those things where the devil is in the details,” he said. “It makes
it very difficult to try and plan, when we really don’t know what
was in the legislation. That’s a little frustrating, but, generally
the things that they are saying are positive.”
On a personal
note, Fotsch said he’s glad to see what he called “major steps
toward trying to simplify the tax code” for individuals, noting it
could pave the way for more people being able to do their own taxes.
“I think that’s
great,” he said.
Steve Van Dien, Freeman Staff and The Associated Press