Over the past eight years, I received countless letters, emails, and phone calls from Kentucky families frustrated by the Obama economy. “The honest, hardworking folks can’t get ahead, the cheaters don’t get caught, and the rich just keep getting richer,” wrote one Kentuckian. “The Obama administration” another Kentuckian wrote, “has not solved our country’s #1 problem: economic growth and employment creation.”
On November 8, 2016, Americans chose to go in a different direction by electing President Trump and sending a Republican majority back to Congress. Together, we responded by passing an historic overhaul of our tax code to make your taxes lower, simpler, and fairer. This bill will help put the sluggish economic growth and stagnant paychecks behind us and finally help more Kentucky families get ahead.
I was proud to partner with President Trump and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch to deliver much-needed relief to Kentucky families. In addition to lowering tax rates, the bill will nearly double the standard deduction, significantly expand the child tax credit, and protect key provisions like the adoption tax credit. According to the Senate Finance Committee, a typical family of four earning the median family income will see their taxes cut by roughly $2,000 next year. A single parent with one child earning $41,000 could see a tax cut of more than $1,300. For hardworking families, that money can make a real difference.
The bill we passed will also unleash the potential of the American economy by making it easier for small businesses to create new jobs. According to one study, our plan could result in the creation of more than 4,400 new jobs in Kentucky, delivering relief to families who are still enduring the effects of the Great Recession. Our bill will also encourage businesses to stop shipping investments and jobs overseas, keeping them right here at home.
A Kentucky small business owner recently came to Washington urging Congress to enact this historic tax reform. In addition to having new resources that he will be able to reinvest in his business, this Kentuckian supports tax reform “because every hour I don’t have to waste dealing with [tax compliance] is an hour at home with my daughters.”
The president of a construction equipment dealership in Louisville shared with me that, as a result of our legislation, “we’ll hire more employees and plan investments in our company that we weren’t considering prior to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.”
Hearing these stories makes me even more proud that I was able to help deliver for Kentucky.
This bill will also help the people of Kentucky by repealing a core pillar of Obamacare: the individual mandate tax. The failed health law’s requirement that every American purchase health insurance – even when plans are not affordable or desirable – has saddled many Kentuckians with a burden too heavy to bear. For these families, the repeal of this Obamacare tax means relief.
In the new year, Kentuckians of all income levels will begin to enjoy the benefits of this legislation. Kentucky farmers are vital to our state’s economy, and I made sure that our farm families could be proud of this bill. The “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” will also help to preserve tax incentives that communities use for local infrastructure and increase opportunity for low-income communities, like those in eastern Kentucky. It will also deliver relief for important economic sectors in Kentucky like the automotive industry and our many entrepreneurial craft distillers and brewers.
While I was also proud our legislation preserved many higher education tax incentives, I was incredibly disappointed that Senate Democrats, led by Senator Bernie Sanders, stripped a provision to protect students at Berea College, which offers a tuition-free education to students with limited economic resources. I worked to include a measure to protect schools like Berea, but Democrats in the Senate chose to strike this provision moments before final passage of the bill. I will continue to work with Congressman Andy Barr, Berea College, and my Senate colleagues to fix this.
It is worth noting that as a direct result of tax reform, several major job creators have already announced increases in take-home pay for thousands of their employees.
I was proud to pass this legislation to take more money out of Washington’s pocket and to put more money back into the pockets of Kentucky families.