Earlier this month, Republicans in the U.S. Senate voted to give Americans relief from high taxes. The tax plan is good news for anyone who wants to keep more of their hard-earned money.

The non-partisan Tax Foundation estimates that the average Wyoming family will see their after-tax income rise by $2,544 under the Senate’s plan. That’s partly because their taxes will drop and partly because their wages will increase.

For starters, most people will pay lower rates. A couple making between $19,050 and $77,400 will go from a tax rate of 15 percent to 12 percent.

April 15th will become simpler for many people in Wyoming and the rest of the country. The Republican tax plan roughly doubles the standard deduction, to $24,000 for a married couple. Ninety-five percent of Americans will choose the standard deduction rather than spend time adding up individual deductions to try to reduce their tax bill.

The tax relief plan is good for families in other ways as well. It doubles the child tax credit, to $2,000 per child.

For people who still come out ahead by itemizing, our plan maintains important tax breaks. These include deductions for charitable contributions, retirement savings and mortgages up to $1 million.

More family farms, ranches and other small businesses will also be protected from the death tax. The Senate plan doubles the amount of an estate that is exempt from the tax. This will help to relieve some of the stress families face when trying to keep the business in the family.

The tax legislation will be good for jobs and investment in our communities. It encourages large businesses to invest their profits here at home instead of overseas. This can make our businesses more competitive globally. It also helps create jobs here that otherwise might go somewhere else.

The Tax Foundation estimates that the law will lead to 925,000 new jobs across the country – 1,800 of them in Wyoming. Many of these jobs will be in Main Street businesses.

The National Federation of Independent Business released a report last week that shows small business hiring plans reached an all-time high in November. With tax reform in view, NFIB said, more firms plan to create jobs, “a clear sign that small business owners think the economy is strong.”

A new survey by the National Association of Manufacturers also found record optimism. More than half of the companies in the survey – large and small – said that they will expand their business and hire more workers because of the Republican tax relief plan.

Prominent economists calculate that America’s economy will grow by an extra 3 to 5 percent under the Republican plan. One group of 137 experts wrote that the legislation will lead to “more jobs, higher wages, and a better standard of living for the American people.”

The plan passed by Senate Republicans also effectively repeals the Obamacare individual mandate tax.

This takes Obamacare from being a mandatory program to a voluntary one. More than 16,000 people in Wyoming paid this tax penalty. Seventy percent of them earned less than $50,000 per year. The average penalty this year is $700.

The individual mandate tax is one of the most outrageous and unfair parts of the health care law. With it gone, people will no longer have to pay a tax if they decide that overpriced Obamacare insurance isn’t right for them.

This legislation isn’t perfect. No law ever is. It’s a good step forward.

We still need Washington to get smarter about how taxes affect small businesses. Every dollar – and every hour – we save them is one they can invest in their communities and their families.

America’s tax code has not been reformed in 31 years. It is time to give people relief from high taxes, make U.S. businesses more competitive and spur our economy to create more jobs.

John Barrasso is Wyoming’s junior U.S. senator.


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