HASH(0xbf3e34)

Massive Trump tax cuts face big hurdles as debt mounts

Massive Trump tax cuts face big hurdles as debt mounts

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is proposing tax cuts for individuals and businesses even as Washington struggles with mounting debt and the populist president tries to make good on promises to bring jobs and prosperity to the middle class.

Trump is scheduled Wednesday to unveil the broad outlines of a tax overhaul that would provide massive tax cuts to businesses big and small. The top tax rate for individuals would be cut by a few percentage points, from 39.6 per cent to the “mid-30s,” said an official with knowledge of the plan.

Small business owners would see their top tax rate go from 39.6 per cent to 15 per cent, said the official.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, was not authorized to speak publicly about the plan before Trump’s announcement,

White House officials already said the top corporate tax rate would be reduced from 35 per cent to 15 per cent. The plan will also include child-care benefits, a cause promoted by Trump’s daughter Ivanka.

Trump dispatched his top lieutenants to Capitol Hill Tuesday evening to discuss his plan with Republican leaders. The meeting lasted only half an hour.

Afterward, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, called it “a preliminary meeting.”

“They went into some suggestions that are mere suggestions and we’ll go from there,” said Hatch, who chairs the powerful Senate Finance Committee.

The president’s presentation Wednesday will be “pretty broad in the principles,” said Marc Short, Trump’s director of legislative affairs.

In the coming weeks, Trump will solicit more ideas on how to improve it, Short said. The specifics should start to come this summer.

Short said the administration didn’t want to set a firm timeline, after demanding a quick House vote on a health care bill and watching it fail.

However, Short added, “I don’t see this sliding into 2018.”

Republicans who slammed the growing national debt under Democrat Barack Obama said Tuesday they are open to Trump’s tax plan, even though it could add trillions of dollars to the deficit over the next decade.

Echoing the White House, Republicans on Capitol Hill argued that tax cuts would spur economic growth, reducing or even eliminating any drop in tax revenue.

“I’m not convinced that cutting taxes is necessarily going to blow a hole in the deficit,” Hatch said.

“I actually believe it could stimulate the economy and get the economy moving,” Hatch added. “Now, whether 15 per cent is the right figure or not, that’s a matter to be determined.”

The argument that tax cuts pay for themselves has been debunked by economists from across the political spectrum. On Tuesday, the official scorekeeper for Congress dealt the argument — and Trump’s plan — another blow.

The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation said Tuesday that a big cut in corporate taxes — even if it is temporary — would add to long-term budget deficits. This is a problem for Republicans because it means they would need Democratic support in the Senate to pass a tax overhaul that significantly cuts corporate taxes.

Republicans have been working under a budget manoeuvr that would allow them to pass a tax bill without Democratic support in the Senate — but only if it didn’t add to long-term deficits.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the Senate was sticking to that strategy.

“Regretfully we don’t expect to have any Democratic involvement in” a tax overhaul, McConnell said. “So we’ll have to reach an agreement among ourselves.”

Democrats said they smell hypocrisy over the growing national debt, which stands at nearly $20 trillion. For decades, Republican lawmakers railed against saddling future generations with trillions in debt.

But with Republicans controlling Congress and the White House, there is no appetite at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue to tackle the long-term drivers of debt — Social Security and Medicare. Instead, Republicans are pushing for tax cuts and increased defence spending.

“I’m particularly struck by how some of this seems to be turning on its head Republican economic theory,” said Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee.

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., said, “On a lot of fronts, both the administration and Republicans have been contradictory, to say the least.”

“There’s no question we should try to reduce (the corporate tax rate), but I don’t see how you pay for getting it down that low,” Casey said. “Fifteen per cent, that’s a huge hole if you can’t make the math work.”

___

Associated Press writers Alan Fram and Matthew Daly contributed to this report.

___

Follow Stephen Ohlemacher on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephenatap

Stephen OhlemacHer And Josh Boak, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Saanich police investigating sexual assault in broad daylight

Social media lit up with accusations incident took place at Regina Park tent city

Swimmer halts journey across Strait of Juan de Fuca after hypothermia sets in

Susan Simmons swam for eight-and-a-half hours in 9 C choppy waters

Oak Bay man designer behind Canucks’ retro jersey

Jeremie White was 20 years old when he told Canucks assistant GM Brian Burke he had a design

Opposing views clash over removal of Royal Oak Golf Course from ALR

Golf course not ideal for farming, says report

Five things to do in Greater Victoria this weekend

Puppy yoga, horses, cars, water guns and more make up this weekend’s list of events to see

Fast food chains look to capitalize on vegetarian, vegan trend with new items

Seven per cent of Canadians consider themselves vegetarians and 2.3 per cent identify as vegans

‘Hard on water:’ Smoke not the only long-range effect of wildfires

The project began more than 10 years ago after southern Alberta’s 2003 Lost Creek fire

B.C. VIEWS: Genuine aboriginal rights can be misused and discredited

Camp Cloud one of long line of protests falsely asserting title

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to march in Montreal’s Pride parade

Trudeau will end the day in his home riding of Papineau

Vancouver Whitecaps give up late goal in 2-2 draw with New York Red Bulls

Four of Vancouver’s next five games are at home

RCMP looking for missing Duncan teen

Dallas Macleod, 18, was last seen on Aug. 10

Most Read