The House GOP’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is the first meaningful overhaul of the U.S. tax code in three decades.

U.S. Rep. Karen Handel.

Today, the average American spends 17 hours completing their taxes, and our economy loses $400 billion in annual productivity as a result. Even worse, coming out of the worst recession many of us have seen in our lives, our economy continues to limp along with anemic growth and stagnant wages.

But for economic growth in the 21st century, we need a tax code designed for the 21st century. The status quo is not good enough.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a bold, transformative approach to tax reform that simplifies the code and reduces the tax burden on working Americans and middle-income families. The bill cleared the House Nov. 16 by a vote of 227-205, and I was proud to play a part in passing this historic legislation.

H.R. 1 cuts federal income tax rates, eliminates loopholes and encourages investment in America’s economy. It replaces deductions and credits with broad tax reduction, eliminating a system that has played favorites and distorted economic decision making for decades.

Our plan is about Americans, especially low- and middle-income families, being able to keep more of their own, hard-earned money.

We’re lowering federal income tax rates across the board — consolidating the existing seven tax brackets into four — while nearly doubling the standard deduction for individuals and married couples.

According to Census data, the average family of four in the 6th Congressional District makes $132,066 per year. Under this bill, using the increased standard deduction, that family will take home an additional $4,658 per year.

The bill also increases the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $1,600 per child and raises the credit’s annual income threshold from $110,000 to $230,000.

Over 40,000 people in the 6th District already claim this credit, and even more will be able to under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. And the fact that this is a credit — rather than a deduction — means the money goes in your pocket whether you itemize or not.

At the same time, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminates the Alternative Minimum Tax. The AMT currently impacts 26,877 filers in the 6th — almost twice the national average.

Finally, our bill encourages economic growth and job creation by lowering small businesses’ taxes to their lowest rates since World War II.

Unfortunately, those who cling to the status quo are already hard at work employing the same old scare tactics and false innuendos. Don’t fall for it.

The Washington Post’s recent fact check gave Senate Democrats “four Pinocchios” for saying our plan raises taxes on Americans — its strongest possible rating. The Post wrote that anyone spreading the claim “should delete their tweets and make clear they were in error.”

In the coming weeks, there will be conversations about changes to make our proposal better. One such change has already been made, restoring the adoption tax credit for families opening their homes to children from around the world.

Again, some will focus on the fact that our plan eliminates most deductions in the current tax code. But, by broadly cutting rates and doubling the standard deduction, we ensure that the overwhelming majority of 6th District residents see their taxes cut — with or without individual credits and deductions. In fact, the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation recently confirmed that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would cut taxes for Americans at every income level.

Over the years, Washington has created special-interest loophole after special-interest loophole, creating a system that benefits those whose lawyers and accountants can best navigate and exploit the tax code. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will remove those loopholes, adding fairness to the system and making the tax code so simple that nine out of 10 Americans will be able to file their return on a form the size of a postcard.

The plan isn’t perfect. Few things are. Still, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a critical step forward for families, small businesses, and for our hopes of modernizing America’s economy for the 21st century. As the House and Senate continue working on a compromise bill that can be signed into law by the President, I will remain focused on simplifying the tax code and lowering taxes on a vast majority of Americans. Our economy depends on it.

Karen Handel represents Georgia’s 6th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. The district includes parts of Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs. She serves on the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

34 replies on “Commentary: GOP tax reform would help local families”

  1. Albert Einstein once said that “In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.” Give tax money to the rich, and they will just invest it on themselves.

  2. A couple of clarifications. The tax savings to individuals and families are temporary. To corporations, they are permanent. And in recent survey of corporate leaders by Emory University, only a minute percentage claimed they would reinvest savings into their business, creating jobs and stimulating the economy. Most said they would pass the funds to shareholders. And 1.5 trillion in additional deficit? Karen, I thought Republicans were deficit hawks. Reagan’s own economic advisor, David Stockman has disavowed trickle down economics because the rich don’t spend, they just reinvest. Get real, Karen.

  3. The best part of this tax cut is that it sticks it to socialist states like California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts- serves them right for not supporting Trump!

  4. It’s also a great relief to see the GOP doing away with the tax cuts teachers get for school supplies- we all know teachers get paid WAY too much!!!


  5. So Representative Karen Handel, I’m assuming you obtained your information from Paul Ryan and Donald Trump’s pamphlet for novice Congress members to utilize in scamming their constituents into thinking the GOP tax cuts will benefit anyone other than the top 1% (with most of them being the beneficiaries of inherited wealth) and corporations.

    The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has stated that U.S. households earning under $145,690.00 a year will receive a tax INCREASE.

  6. Has Ms Handel not read the CBP Report?! How does eliminating the Estate tax help lower and middle class people? How does eliminating the Alternative Min Tax? How does cutting Corp taxes help workers when every time it’s been done before it never has? We need real tax reform like eliminating the decades old agriculture supplements, overseas tax credits, oil and gas industry give a ways! And we need it done in an open committee led, expert driven man or. Not this sham. As usual Ms Handel sides with party over country.

  7. As a teacher, mother, and 6th district constituent I must say that I am sickened by K. Handel’s lack of compassion for teachers, college students, graduate students, and the elderly. This tax plan is a travesty and she should not be trying to sell it to us. Shame!

  8. Yes, teachers lose their deduction, we lose deduction for state taxes, so we pay tax on tax, but a private jet is an ok deduction. We are living in upside down world

  9. Admit it! ALEC wrote this for you. Anyone who can balance a checkbook knows that no middle class families, including college students, teachers, medics, firemen and women, and police officers, are going to benefit from this plan. Therefore, it’s not good for the country because it’s backbone is being given the shaft.

  10. JCT scoring said most filers would see a tax cut next year, but those cuts phase out over time for individuals and families. By 2027, many households will see a tax increase. The burden will fall particularly on those making $75,000 or less. Good news for the top 1% of filers, though; repeals of the estate tax and AMT, along with cuts in the pass-through rate, will give them permanent reductions. This is a tax reduction for the wealthy financed by the poor and middle class. It also adds $1.5T to the debt.

    The idea that tax cuts for business and the wealthy improves the economy has been thoroughly tested and proven to be a failure.Corporate after-tax profits are at historic highs now, but businesses aren’t investing their loot in more jobs or higher wages. They won’t invest their tax savings there, either.

  11. No doubt you read the GOP Cliff Notes on the tax bill because you are using all their talking points. Show me how this helps me as an entrepreneur earning less than $75,000 a year as opposed to a corporation. How does taking away itemized deductions help? Why are the “cuts” not sustainable to individuals and they are to corporations? Hooray now millionaires can escape the estate tax. Ms. Handle please come back to earth and the real lives of your constituents in the 6th District. Don’t let the pressure to pass any bill make you pass poor ones. Please start representing us and leave the 1% to fend for themselves. And while you are at it, please attend to the CHIP program, those kids need healthcare!

  12. You voted our future away Ms. Handel. Perhaps you didn’t read or understand the bill. Many individuals and families in your district will suffer while corporations add to their coffers and the national debt increases. Tax incentives don’t create jobs or increase wages. I assume you employ people to help manage your household. Are you planning to pass your tax savings in to them in the form of higher wages? No, I didn’t think so.

  13. I can’t believe anyone really believes this is nothing but payback for big donors and tax relief for this particular POTUS’ corrupt shell game to avoid paying taxes.

    Karen, why do you think he has refused, even after saying he would release his returns?

    You know in your heart that it will only expose him as a big-time tax cheat and reveal his many nefarious ties to Russia.

    No one who subscribes to Truth, Justice & The American Way could ever accept such a dirty deal for the hard-working majority in favor of the 1%ers who have hijacked our government.

  14. You in the GOP are very poorly trying to see this lie of “tax cuts” to your constituents.

    Can’t wait to see you at the polls in 2018. You never should have been elected; but we can correct that by telling the truth about you in the next election.

  15. What astounds me to no end are the number of insightful and articulate citzens we are blessed with in the GA06 community, as anecdotally confirmed by the folks who’ve knowledgeably commented on this article, but we sadly ended up with Karen Handel – who is either an incompetent civil servant who didn’t even take the time to read the bill she was tasked with voting on, or is a political hack who is willfully attempting deceive her constituents, to represent us.

  16. This tax bill is by the lobbyists and corporations for the lobbyists and corporations. I’m disappointed you do not represent the people of the Sixth and that you have voted to make our lives more difficult.

  17. How soon we all forget. The 2015 tax deal under the last administration doubled the Medicare Part B premiums which, through the application of high-earner surcharges (making more than $214K, will be deducted from their SS in 2018.

    Oh, you say your parents or grandparents don’t make that much. If you make more than $85K per year, your Medicare Premium went up almost 50%…and it’s being deducted from your 2018 SS.

    You people stop with the talking points and read for yourself. They are all trying to confiscate your money, and love it when you fight their fight for them. Sheeple.

  18. This is a poorly written bill being rushed and pushed through just for a GOP win tally. This will not be good for the majority of your constituents. Did you read it or did you just feel pressure as a rookie to vote yes? Trickle down hasn’t worked in the past and it won’t now. This increases the deficit just to give a break to donors. That is not good for our district.

  19. In a house with 2 educators. Over 30 years of experience, and our taxes will be going up!
    It’s like you want Drive all of the good teachers away. Hmmm.

    1. Remember too that many places with high state and local taxes (a deduction the GOP bill is doing away with) have high taxes because they support education. . .

      it’s almost like they don’t want Americans to be educated.

  20. Are you kidding, for the overtime they put in, the school systems reducing their supplies, and their own cash they spend to allow our next generation to learn, they should increase the credit

  21. I don’t know what census data you are using to come up with your average of $132,066 but the census reporter, using US census data from 2016 puts ( district 6 at $46,304 per capital income and $87,139 median household income. 8.5% of our District 6 citizens live below the poverty line. Since the average congressional salary is $174,000, I’d say you all have given yourself a nice little tax break.
    I am tired of being insulted by twisting facts to fit your political objectives. If you pass this tax bill it will create a greater gap between the poor, the middle class and the wealthiest Americans, all for the sake of a “win”. We are creating an aristocracy in this country and, historically, that does not bode well for those of you feathering your own nests. Consider the French, German and British aristocracies of previous centuries, not to mention the Russian!

    1. A circumspectly researched and articulate rejoinder, Ms Sandra J! Well done like so many other comments posted in response to this article. So much so that I’m envisioning a flummoxed US Rep Karen Handel going whimpering back to Paul Ryan and Donald Trump – “Now what?! My GA06 constituents are in possession of facts and the truth!”

  22. Well they did it – in the early hours of the morning Republicans passed a tax scam, zealously endorsed by GA06 Republican Rep Karen Handel in her above discourse, that will raise taxes and health care costs for low and middle income Americans while the top 1% and large corporations get a tax break – a tax scam so venal and draconian that they refused to allow the opposition party and independents to read it or their constituents to know its actual contents prior to passage.

    So from here on out all discussion is moot – we are officially an oligarchical fascist state. Senate and House Republicans have obsequiously honored their rapacious wealthy donors’ directives.

    “The forces of fascism are massing as Nazi propaganda speaks of making Germany great again…” – Louis MacNeice from his “Autumn Journal” 1939

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