Brady touts benefits of tax changes at LSC event
On the cusp of March’s mid-term primary elections, U.S. Rep Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands, spoke at a town hall meeting in The Woodlands, discussing the new tax reform bill and touting the benefits the new tax structure will bring to businesses and families.
Officials with the Lone Star College System Small Business Development Center hosted the event, called a “Small Business Town Hall,” on Thursday, Feb. 22, at the Lone Star Community Building in The Woodlands.
Brady represents Texas’ 8th Congressional District, a position he has held since 1997. He is chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means in the House of Representatives, the chief tax-writing committee at the federal level. When not in the nation’s capital, Brady resides in The Woodlands with his wife.
The new tax bill was signed into law by President Donald Trump in December and took effect Jan. 1, 2018. At the town hall meeting, Brady, a key architect of the bill, outlined what the tax reform does and how it affects families as well as small businesses.
“My job as Ways and Means chairmanship was to create a new tax code, one that had two goals,” he said. “It was literally designed to grow jobs and paychecks in the United States economy. The second goal was to leapfrog America from nearly dead last among our competitors: China, Asia, Europe, Mexico.”
Brady said the reason Congress undertook tax reform was because the U.S. economy has been growing too slowly for too long.
Under the new tax structure, there is tax relief to come for small businesses, Brady said, with the goal in mind for small business owners to invest more in their businesses and workers. Families will be affected as well, he added.
“We really put a big emphasis on tax relief for middle class families,” Brady said. “What we did was lower the tax rate at every income level.”
With an emphasis on keeping charitable deductions, mortgage deductions, medical expenses, and the deduction from saving for college, the tax code has been simplified, Brady said.
“Under the new tax code, a family of four, parents and kids, won’t pay taxes on the first $61,000 of their income. That’s higher than the average household income in Texas.”
In the district Brady serves, which includes Montgomery County, the former leader of the local chamber of commerce said the average family of four will save $2,630 each year.
“I know that doesn’t change the world,” he said. “But that’s a lot of utility payments. That’s helpful to truck payments. That helps you save for college for your children.”
As a result of tax reform, Brady said that beginning this month, 90 percent of workers will see higher paychecks across America.
“You can both get immediate tax relief in your paycheck now and still keep the refund that you will have next year,” he said. “So for middle class families this is really important.”
Brady relayed a story about a recent trip he took to Home Depot on I-45 in The Woodlands. A Home Depot employee who used to work for Interfaith approached him, explaining how she owns a small business and works at the hardware store to make ends meet.
“She came up and said ‘thank you-I can see $184 more every paycheck,’” he recalled for the crowd of several dozen.
Brady said that people in Washington might sneer at the level of tax relief, but said, “For families in Texas and in America, every dollar helps.”
Brady spoke at length about small businesses, and he said he wanted to make sure they weren’t “left behind.”
“In addition to lowering the tax rate for small business, we created-for the first time-a small business deduction of 20 percent,” he said. “All we wanted to do was send less money to Washington and keep more to invest in your business and your workers-more to invest in your success and survival.”
Brady explained that businesses if all sizes will be able to immediately write off their investment in new plants, equipment and software.
“It saves small businesses an awful lot of cash flow, but more importantly, it allows our businesses to invest in the equipment to make that makes their work even more productive,” he said. “That’s really what drives economy and growth in America.”
Brady also addressed the estate tax and the effect it has had on business, something he also discussed earlier Thursday during a private speech to community members and business leaders sponsored by the Howard Hughes Corp. and hosted at The Woodlands Resort.
“Too many businesses have been caught up in the death tax where you work your whole life and build up a nest egg and when you die Uncle Sam will swoop and take 50 percent off of everything you earn,” he said, adding that his goal was to permanently repeal the estate tax.
That plan was not included the new tax reform, however, the exemption was doubled, he noted.
“That means more of our family owned businesses and farms don’t have to worry about the death tax,” he said.
As a result of the tax reform, Brady said optimism among business owners is at a 20-year high and local companies are better able to compete around the world.
Brady said half of America’s manufacturers will expand and pay more for their workers because of the reform.
“We want to create a giant sucking sound for jobs to come back from overseas, back to the U.S.,” he said.
Aside from the optimistic claims about the new tax code, Brady did say it is not perfect and has room for improvement, such as helping Americans save more early in life for health care, retirement and their children’s education.
As for passing new tax code, Brady said it was important to find common ground amongst Republicans and Democrats.
“Not every idea makes it all the way through,” he said. “We had several of them, and as we worked with others, there wasn’t support for it. There are plenty of changes you and I or anyone might make, but the fundamentals are really good, and it’s a good tax reform.”