SHARON, Pa. (WKBN) – A small group braved the cold Friday afternoon to let Congressman Mike Kelly know they’re not happy with Republicans’ tax plan.
Tax reform has been one of President Trump’s campaign promises. Republicans in Washington are now working to turn that promise into a reality but not everyone is on board.
About half a dozen rallied in downtown Sharon to protest the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Republicans say it will save tax money for the lower and middle classes but critics claim it will move jobs overseas and give money to large corporations.
The bill, rolled out last week in the House, will reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent, change the tax brackets from 7 to 4, and eliminate some of the deductions you may now claim.
However, the standard deduction would nearly double under both the House’s and Senate’s plans.
Breakdown of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Congress.gov)
With respect to individuals, the bill:
- replaces the seven existing tax brackets (10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35%, and 39.6%) with four brackets (12%, 25%, 35%, and 39.6%)
- increases the standard deduction
- repeals the deduction for personal exemptions
- establishes a 25% maximum rate on the business income of individuals
- increases the child tax credit and establishes a new family tax credit
- repeals the overall limitation on certain itemized deductions
- limits the mortgage interest deduction for debt incurred after November 2, 2017, to mortgages of up to $500,000 (currently $1 million)
- repeals the deduction for state and local income or sales taxes not paid or accrued in a trade or business
- repeals the deduction for medical expenses
- consolidates and repeals several education-related deductions and credits
- repeals the alternative minimum tax
- repeals the estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes in six years
For businesses, the bill:
- reduces the corporate tax rate from a maximum of 35% to a flat 20% rate (25% for personal services corporations)
- allows increased expensing of the costs of certain property
- limits the deductibility of net interest expenses to 30% of the business’s adjusted taxable income
- repeals the work opportunity tax credit
- terminates the exclusion for interest on private activity bonds
- modifies or repeals various energy-related deductions and credits
- modifies the taxation of foreign income
- imposes an excise tax on certain payments from domestic corporations to related foreign corporations
Groups such as the Democratic Women of Mercer County are against this bill.
“I hope to convince Mike Kelly to rethink his position and to tell our neighbors and our fellow constituents about what’s going on,” Sheila Nowinski said.
The protesters said the bill would ultimately increase taxes for the middle-class and low-income people and give money to the wealthiest 1 percent.
On Friday, the group marched to Congressman Kelly’s office, carrying signs that read, “Time for a Town Hall.” They chanted, “No tax cut for the 1 percent.”
“It’s part of a nationwide movement and we are here to pressure Mike Kelly but also raise awareness about what this tax bill actually means,” Mary Bell said.
Protesters also wrote postcards to Kelly directly. They plan to deliver them to his office, which was closed Friday in honor of Veterans Day.
They want Kelly to vote “no” on the bill that he helped write.
A representative for Congressman Kelly said his office won’t be commenting on the protest itself but did issue the following statement on the tax bill:
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will lower taxes, increase take-home pay, and expand the economy for middle- and lower-income Americans all over our country. It will level the playing field for American companies to grow, hire, and be globally competitive.”
But Bell said it’s important for people to understand what’s in the bill and take action themselves.
“If you don’t like what’s happening, you’re going to have to start getting involved and making the changes that you want to see.”