There is no question that our current tax code is in need of reform. There was a bipartisan path forward to simplify our tax code, make it more competitive and fairer for Wisconsin families, small businesses and family farmers, and do it in a fiscally responsible way. This tax bill, however, isn’t the kind of reform Wisconsinites need.
Instead of simplifying our tax code, this bill borrows $2 trillion from China to give tax cuts to the very wealthy and multinational corporations at the expense of Wisconsin family farmers.
One thing is clear, this tax bill was written of, for and by powerful Washington special interests. According to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, this bill will raise taxes on 86 million middle-class households and give 83 percent of its tax cuts to the wealthiest 1 percent. This is not a bill that is meant to revitalize the economy in rural Wisconsin.
This tax bill will eliminate some tax benefits important to Wisconsin farmers including the Section 199 domestic production deduction that puts additional money in the pockets of farmers. It will restrict like-kind exchanges, which help farmers reinvest in new equipment on their farm. It will remove net-operating-loss carrybacks, which help farmers lower their tax burden during difficult years. At a time when Wisconsin farmers have been struggling to make a profit, the last thing we need to do is put a bigger financial burden on them.
The impact on farm country doesn’t stop there. Unlike corporations, families will no longer be able to totally deduct the state and local taxes they have already paid. Farmers who have worked their whole lives and are starting to retire might not be able to depend on Social Security and Medicare because by taking on 2 trillion dollars in debt those programs are put at risk. Additionally, any provisions that would modestly help family farmers will expire, while the corporate tax cuts are permanent.
This doesn’t sound like tax reform that will create a simpler and fairer tax code for family farmers.
If we are going to borrow $2 trillion from China over the next 10 years, it better be for a good reason, and lavishing huge tax breaks to multinational corporations and the very wealthy is not a good reason. I stand ready to work on a completely paid-for bipartisan plan to simplify the tax code and cut taxes for hardworking Wisconsinites, and this isn’t it.
U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, a Democrat from La Crosse, represents Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District in the House of Representatives.