CONNECTION TO CONGRESS: Precisely the change Oregon needed out of Washington

January 30, 2018

CONNECTION TO CONGRESS: Precisely the change Oregon needed out of Washington

Whether it was in meetings with teachers, farmers or foresters, for the last several years the constant refrain centered on too many rules and regulations coming out of Washington, D.C. In short, Washington had gotten too big and cost too much. From how and when to test students in the classroom to unattainable stubble height on the range, people were fed up with the Washington-knows-best attitude.

Shortly after he was sworn in, President Trump signed an executive order calling on federal agencies to repeal two rules for every new rule they sought. For bureaucratic Washington, this presidential edict was unheard of in modern history.

Within the first 11 months, the Trump administration had canceled or delayed more than 1,500 planned regulatory actions. That is 22 for every new one proposed. Included is one that rolled back the over-reaching Waters of the U.S. rule, which would have let the federal government regulate everything from stock ponds and irrigation ditches to puddles in your driveway. Of course, extreme special interests have already filed suit to stop this regulatory easing.

Congress sent to the president 15 pieces of legislation repealing costly rules from the previous administration, and he signed every one of them into law. The Comprehensive Enterprise Institute estimates the present value cost savings from these combined regulatory rollbacks is about $8 billion in 2017 and $10 billion in 2018.

This is welcome news for our economy, and a weight lifted off the back of Americans from all walks of life. Importantly, we’ve paired this effort with another historic move to reboot American prosperity: the first major overhaul of the federal tax code in more than 30 years.

Congress passed, and the president signed into law, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Since then we’ve seen bonuses, hourly raises and more take-home pay, including here in Eastern Oregon.

More than 160 American companies have announced bonuses, increased wages and improved benefits for more than 2.6 million hard-working Americans. For a starting bank teller at the U.S. Bank branch in La Grande, a starting wage increase to $15 per hour matters.

More than $1.5 billion in new business investments have already been made in the U.S. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced it will shift production of Ram heavy-duty pickup trucks from Mexico to Michigan in 2020, adding 2,500 U.S. jobs. It also gave $2,000 bonuses to 60,000 American workers.

I’ve talked with small business owners in Oregon who, as a result of the federal tax reductions, will make new investments in production lines and hire more people. And major utility companies are cutting rates for millions of Americans, passing along benefits of tax reform to their consumers.

Farmers, ranchers and small business owners now have more resources to grow their operations. For the next five years they will be able to deduct all capital expenses from earnings. We’ve also made great progress in cutting back the death tax. Now, more than $11 million of value of an estate is exempt from the federal death tax.

Think of what that means for family farms, ranches and businesses who want to bring their next generation into the business. Instead of worrying about what to sell off to get the money to pay the taxman upon a death in the family, they can put that capital to work growing their business and adding jobs.

When you look at the impact of our legislation at the individual level, the positive effects become even clearer. The IRS recently released updated withholding tables under the new tax law –– 90 percent of American workers will see an increase in their take-home pay starting in February.

Here in Oregon, the Legislative Revenue Office found that 70 percent of Oregon taxpayers will see a reduction in federal income taxes –– about $840 per tax filer every year. For a family making about $70,000 –– the median income for a family of four in our district –– they’ll save more than $1,900 a year in lower taxes.