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Trump: 'Pro-growth' tax plan to double standard deduction, kill estate tax

By UPI Staff
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Trump: 'Pro-growth' tax plan to double standard deduction, kill estate tax
House Speaker Paul Ryan (C) and other Senate and House leaders present President Donald Trump's tax reform package Wednesday on Capitol Hill. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 27 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump on Wednesday unveiled a Republican-backed tax reform plan that lowers taxes on businesses and many households.

He announced the plan during an appearance in Indianapolis.

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"We're going to cut taxes for the middle class, make the tax code simpler and more fair ... and bring back the jobs that have left our country," Trump said.

"We want tax reform that is pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-worker, pro-family and yes, tax reform that is pro-American."

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Earlier, Republican House leaders outlined the proposal in a "unified framework for fixing our broken tax code".

The plan would decrease the current seven personal tax brackets to three -- 12, 25 and 35 percent -- and nearly double the standard deduction. Also, the child tax credit would be substantially increased.

The top individual tax rate is now 39 percent and the lowest is 10 percent. The new plan doesn't list the income brackets for the new rates.

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The standard deduction for a single filer would be $12,000, while a married couple's first $24,000 of income would be tax-free. The marriage penalty and estate tax, also known as the death tax, would be eliminated. The child tax credit would be expanded and families would receive a $500 tax credit for adult or elderly dependents.

For businesses, the plan would cut the tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent and would allow companies to write off capital spending for at least five years.

"Under our framework, we will dramatically cut the business tax rate so that American companies and American workers can beat our foreign competitors and start winning again," Trump said Wednesday. "We will reduce the corporate tax rate to no higher than 20 percent ... which is substantially below the average of other industrialized nations. This is a revolutionary change, and the biggest winners will be middle-class workers as jobs start pouring into our country, as companies start competing for American labor, and as wages continue to grow."

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In April, Trump unveiled a similar plan that he called the "biggest" tax cut ever -- with the same lower rates for individuals and chopping the corporate rate to 15 percent.

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief economic adviser Gary Cohn summarized the plan in a one-page document Wednesday. They worked out the details with top Republicans in the House and Senate, a group that has come to be known as the "Big Six."

"Tax reform is the most important thing we can do to restore confidence to this country, to get jobs and prosperity and that's why we are so singularly focused on getting this done this year," House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., makes remarks on presenting President Donald Trump's tax reform package, as House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, (L) and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., listen, among Republican leaders Wednesday on Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI

"This framework is focused on supporting American jobs, on making taxes fairer and on growing families' paychecks," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement on the Senate floor Wednesday. "It's a refreshing change from our current outdated tax code, which for too long hasn't worked for many Americans. The current code forces individuals, families and small businesses to navigate a web of schedules, deductions and penalties. Rates are too high. Incentives often make little to no sense. Some actually encourage companies to ship American jobs overseas."

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At a news conference Wednesday, Democratic leaders criticized the GOP-led proposal.

"The president's newly unveiled tax plan shows the GOP is out of touch with working Americans," Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said. "It gives a massive tax cut to the wealthiest American households at the expense of the middle class."

Schumer said there is "no real proof, no real argument they are taking new money and putting it into jobs."

An analysis of the tax framework by Americans for Tax Fairness shows that Trump's tax cuts could total $6.7 trillion to $8.3 trillion, $3 trillion to $5 trillion of which may not be paid for by closing other tax loopholes and/or by limiting tax deductions.

"The idea that this plan would help average Americans instead of the wealthy and big corporations has been a hoax all along," Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness said in a statement. "This isn't 'tax reform,' it's just a big giveaway to millionaires and corporations, and it won't 'trickle down' to the rest of us."

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget conducted a preliminary study of the plan and found it would cost $2.2 trillion in lost revenue over 10 years.

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Trump said he had hope the tax plan would have bipartisan support in Congress.

"Democrats and Republicans in Congress should come together to deliver this giant win for the American people and begin the middle-class miracle once again," he said.

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