There are three big things about the Republican tax bill that stand out to Billy Hesterman, vice president of the Utah Taxpayers Association. The first?
“You’re doubling the standard deduction from about $12,000 for single filers to $24,000 now,” he says. “So I think that’s one thing that, as an individual, that people will notice.”
Hesterman says another aspect of the final bill that will affect Utahns is preservation of the mortgage interest deduction, which Republicans had considered axing, but instead left in place for purchases on homes less than $750,000.
And of course, there’s that big corporate tax cut at the heart of the bill — from 35 percent down to 21 percent.
The Utah Taxpayers Association is supporting the bill, though Hesterman notes it didn’t go nearly as far the original House version in paying for itself.
“Well one of the main, sound principles of tax policy has always been to broaden the base and lower the rate, and this proposal doesn’t necessarily go after that," he says.
A new Monmouth University poll shows Americans are deeply skeptical of the effort, with about half disapproving. Likewise, many Utahns are unsure of how the bill will ultimately affect them.
“I think you have to look at the whole scope of the picture," says Hesterman of public response. "Is this going to be beneficial for your family in the long run by making corporate income tax cuts — does that mean we’re going to have more jobs in the country? Certainly that’s the hope that Republicans have in Congress."
The GOP is forging ahead with a vote on the joint bill out of the House and Senate scheduled by the end of this week.