WASHINGTON – Colorado Republicans were united in passing the tax reform plan that has been making its way through Congress since November.
Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, voted in favor of the bill, saying tax breaks will put more money in Coloradans’ pockets and encourage faster overall economic growth.
“This week’s vote to reform our broken tax code is historic, but more importantly, it puts the needs of the American people before special interests,” Tipton said in a prepared statement after the House vote.
After clearing the House on Tuesday, the bill was blocked from a vote in the Senate because of violations of the Byrd rule, a requirement that allows bills to pass with 51 votes if everything in the law is related to the budget.
The violations were removed in time for a Senate vote Wednesday morning and a second House vote Wednesday afternoon.
“Congress has finally answered the call to cut taxes and reform the tax code, and I’m proud to help deliver this relief to all of Colorado,” Gardner said in a prepared statement.
Democrats, including Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., said the new bill is a continuation of trickle-down policy that has failed in the past to deliver on promised results.
“This bill burdens our children with $1.4 trillion in debt to cut taxes for the wealthiest businesses and individuals in America. It’s as if my wife and I lived in our house but then asked our kids to pay the mortgage.” Bennet said in a prepared statement after the Senate voted to pass the bill.
Republicans said the increase in the debt will be offset by large increases in overall growth, but a report from the Joint Committee on Taxation says the bill will still add upwards of $1 trillion after calculating for economic growth.
The final bill is similar to its earlier incarnations and still contains a large cut to the corporate tax rate, down to 21 percent from 35, in addition to nearly doubling the standard deduction and giving tax breaks to pass-through businesses. Pass-through businesses include many small and locally owned establishments, but also encompasses many law and real-estate firms, including the Trump corporation.
The final legislation will reduce taxes on all income brackets, with the biggest cut going to high-earners, as well as expand the child tax credit to $2,000.
The bill also dropped many unpopular measures from earlier versions such as graduate student tax credits and caps on 401(k) retirement plans.
President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill into law before Christmas.
Samuel Northrop is an intern for The Durango Herald and a student at American University in Washington, D.C.