For years, Washington has grown in its power and wealth while hardworking Americans have struggled to make ends meet. In fact, the nation’s most affluent counties are suburbs of Washington, D.C. Taxpayer dollars have padded the pockets of D.C. for far too long — enough is enough.
Just in time for Christmas, I was honored to join Congress in passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This historic tax bill will lower rates for hardworking Montanans, boost higher wages and incentivize job creation. It will keep more than $700 million per year that was headed to Washington, D.C. in the pockets of Montanans instead.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act lowers individual rates, which means you keep more – and the government takes less — of your paycheck. The tax cuts bill also nearly doubles the standard deduction, freeing more of your hard-earned money from taxes. It doubles the Child Tax Credit, preserves the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, and preserves the Adoption Tax Credit, which helps hardworking Montana families.
The tax cuts bill also preserves the Mortgage Interest Deduction, but asks those who make a little more to pay their fair share when it comes to new homes over $750,000. It provides relief for those with expensive medical bills, retains retirement savings accounts like 401(k)s and doubles the current exemption from the Death Tax. I also personally fought to ensure that private activity bonds used to finance rural hospitals and affordable housing, as well as tuition waivers for graduate students, remained untouched.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act also finally repeals Obamacare’s Poverty Tax — the so-called Individual Mandate — which forces those without health insurance to pay a fine. This tax systematically penalizes low-income Montanans who cannot afford health insurance, and as one of the Senate’s leading voices fighting for its repeal, I’m glad that House and Senate Leadership included this important provision at my request.
And we’re finally going to make our tax code work for Montana businesses. For too long, America’s corporate tax code has driven corporate businesses off our shores — taking with them good-paying jobs and opportunities for Americans. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, American businesses will be incentivized to stay here, create jobs and raise wages for American workers. By reducing the corporate tax rate to 21 percent, Congress will finally address the root cause of business flight and allow our businesses to become globally competitive without having to leave our country.
Corporate taxes only make up half the business tax code, though. To make business taxes work for Montanans, we need to empower the Main Street businesses that are responsible for 68 percent of private sector employment in our state. These family-owned businesses are the backbone of Montana’s economy. After weeks of negotiations, I was able to secure over $100 billion in tax relief for Main Street businesses so they can grow jobs and invest in their workers.
It was an honor to vote in support of hardworking Montanans by voting for this tax cuts bill. At the end of the day, I believe Montanans deserve more control over their hard-earned dollars. Montanans, not D.C. bureaucrats, know how to save money, raise wages and build a more prosperous Montana.
Steve Daines is a U.S. Senator for Montana.