What Tax Reform Means for Northeast Georgia

Jan 11, 2018

WASHINGTON—This op ed by Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) appeared in The Pickens County Progress on January 11, 2018.

In November 2016, I said that Americans had grown weary of the road that they’d walked for eight years under hollow leadership. This November, we saw the difference between the struggle behind us and the hope before us when Republicans in the House of Representatives introduced the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

With the president’s signature, conservative tax reform became the law of our land this December. America’s unified Republican government has kept its promise to inject fairness, simplicity and common sense into a broken tax code, and the new system took effect on New Year’s Day.

At its core, tax reform means that workers from Sky Valley to Big Canoe see the difference in their paychecks. In northeast Georgia, a family of four will see their annual income tax burden fall by $2,080 under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

The fact that some lawmakers have fought furiously to deny working Americans such historic tax relief reveals how committed they are to centralizing power and money in Washington.

But I believe their confidence in big government comes at the expense of industrious Americans. The IRS has been the pit bull of federal bureaucrats for too long, but the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act puts Fido on a much shorter leash by lowering income tax brackets across the board.

Conservative tax reform means that my neighbors in Jasper will see more money in their paychecks as their federal withholding decreases and as companies like AT&T and Boeing invest more in their employees in response to a smarter tax system.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act also means that Washington is more accountable to everyday citizens. Before now, taxpayers looking toward April 15 faced a cyclone of confusing itemization rules. To make the filing process simple and more transparent, we’ve doubled the standard deduction from $12,700 to $24,000 for families and $6,350 to $12,000 for individuals.

Roughly 30 percent of filers in Georgia’s Ninth District itemize their taxes, and, moving forward, nearly nine out of ten of them will have the option of coming out ahead by filling out their taxes on a postcard.

Already, we’re seeing see productivity encouraged and rewarded once again. Leadership at Yancey Bros. Co., a Georgia company with a presence in Jefferson, is giving each of their employees a $500 bonus because of the benefits our tax reform package will bring to local business communities.

The bill that I helped send to President Trump’s desk recognizes that a country with the planet’s most innovative ideas and workforce shouldn’t harbor a tax system that discourages job creators from building their businesses within America’s shores.

For too long, America’s corporate rate effectively subsidized the economies of other nations by driving production overseas, where corporate tax rates are less absurd. By lowering the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, we’re rehabilitating one of the worst tax systems in the industrialized world so that it serves our citizens again.

By allowing businesses to see more return on their investment in America, we finally make room for the economy to expand, to the benefit of all Americans. History bears this out. The Obama Administration attempted to manufacture growth by shelling out taxpayer money. As a result, Obama’s presidency is the first on record not to have a single calendar year with a 3% rise in GDP.

Yet taxes aren’t the only millstones hanging around the necks of Georgia’s people. Obamacare has punished individuals by taking away their access to doctors and affordable health care. Nineteen of the Ninth District’s 20 counties now have only one option for health insurance, meaning they have no choice—the government compelled them to buy insurance on a crippled market. But our tax reform package repeals the individual mandate, a cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act that inflicted IRS penalties on anyone who chose not to purchase health insurance.

While Republicans are making good on our promises to reform the tax code and dismantle Obamacare, we’re also encouraging energy-independence. The tax bill ends a short-sighted energy policy and gives Americans the freedom to develop more of our own resources rather than rely on foreign oil suppliers.

The primary need of Georgia’s farms, families, small businesses and entrepreneurs is to be unshackled from policies that have proven toxic to growth and liberty. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act does that in partnership with regulatory reform initiatives like the REINS Act, which I introduced—and President Trump supports—to make it harder for federal agencies to implement costly programs without approval from Congress and the president.

Together, the president, House and Senate have reinvented a faulty tax system and complemented it with a deregulatory agenda that further peals big government off the back of the little guy.

We’ve been faithful to keep these promises because we have faith in our neighbors, the people who have always made America great and who deserve to keep more of their own money to pour into their own dreams—starting now.

U.S. Representative Doug Collins

Ninth District of Georgia