(CNSNews.com) - Thirteen Republicans broke with their party leadership and voted “no” as the House voted 227-205 to pass a tax reform bill. No Democrats voted for the bill.
Rep. Tom McClintock (R.-Calif.) argued, as did other Republican dissenters, that the bill would actually increase federal taxes on some middle-class households.
“It is claimed that the average taxpayer will see their taxes reduced,” McClintock said. “This invokes the mystery of the 6-foot man who drowned in a pond whose average depth was 5-feet. It is undeniable that a significant portion of taxpayers will see an increase in their taxes, particularly in California, and particularly over time as the temporary relief provisions phase out.”
The thirteen Republican dissenters included five from New York, four from New Jersey, three from California and one from North Carolina.
After the vote, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R.-Wisc.) applauded the Republican members who voted for the tax reform package.
“This country has not rewritten its tax code since 1986,” Ryan said. “The powers of the status quo in this town are so strong. Yet 227 men and women of this Congress broke through that today. That is powerful.”
Ryan said the bill the Republican-controlled House passed was about spurring growth and letting working Americans keep more of their paychecks.
“This is about giving hardworking taxpayers bigger paychecks, more take-home pay,” said Ryan. “This is about giving those families who are struggling peace of mind. It’s about getting this economy to grow faster so that we get bigger wages, more jobs, and we put America in the driver’s seat of the global economy once again.”
“We’ve got a long road ahead of us,” Ryan said. “This is a very, very big milestone in that long road.”
Most of the Republican members who voted no pointed to the removal of certain deductions from the tax code, including, but not only, the deduction for state and local income or sales taxes.
"The complete removal of the deduction for state income taxes and the limitation on deductions for local property taxes will impact New York families more severely than taxpayers in other states,” said Rep. John Faso (R.-N.Y.). “While the full SALT income tax deduction for individuals is repealed, full deductibility will remain in effect for corporations and other business entities, thereby protecting taxpayers in states like Texas which rely more heavily on corporate taxes.
“Since New York taxpayers already send over $40 billion more in tax dollars to Washington than we receive back in federal benefits and services, we are not being subsidized by any state,” said Faso. “Frankly, I resent the accusation that New Yorkers are being subsidized by the rest of the nation, when in fact the opposite is true.”
Rep. Darrell Issa (R.-Calif.), whose district is in Orange County, opposed the tax reform on similar grounds.
"I didn't come to Washington to raise taxes on my constituents and I do not plan to start today," said Issa. "It's disappointing that the bill approved today will not provide the same tax relief to Californians as it does to the rest of the nation.”
“Constituents in my district have picked up extra shifts, stayed late, and worked hard only to see less and less of their take-home pay as taxes have skyrocketed across the state,” said Issa. “My constituents deserve to see a tax cut too. Before reform reaches the President’s desk, I will continue fighting for changes to deliver tax relief for all taxpayers--regardless of where they live."
McClintock argued that while the business side of the tax bill may be good, the elements dealing with individuals and families are not.
“I am convinced that the business side of this bill will produce dramatic growth for the national economy,” said McClintock. “However, I believe the personal income tax side does significant harm, particularly to many families in high-cost, high-tax states like California.
“This was entirely avoidable, if higher priority had been given to family tax relief than was given to tax simplification,” said McClintock. “The current major deductions for such expenses as mortgage interest, state and local income taxes, medical and casualty expenses and student loan interest could all have been retained in the bill, while still providing a significant, across-the-board reduction in all tax rates, assuring that no taxpayer was left behind.
“Unfortunately,” he said, “the amendment that I offered to do so failed, and despite many discussions, I have yet to receive assurances that the final bill will protect every taxpayer against tax increases.”
McClintock additionally argued that the bill violated the principle of federalism.
“The state and local tax deduction is removed under this bill, further disproportionately affecting Californians,” he said. “The rationale is that taxpayers in low-tax states subsidize the high spending in liberal states. But this ignores a central tenet of federalism: that governments closest to the people should make most of the decisions and provide most of the services, and thus have first call on tax revenues--the federal government is supposed to get in line behind them. The bill turns this principle on its head and amounts to a double-taxation of every dollar government claims from family earnings.”
McClintock cited an estimate by the Joint Committee on Taxation which determined that by 2027 the bill would actually increase taxes for about 20 percent of families earning between 75,000 and $100,000.
“Other provisions permanently eliminate personal tax exemptions, replacing them with a personal tax credit,” said McClintock. “Unfortunately, the credit goes away in five years, meaning that many families seeing a tax cut this year may end up paying higher taxes in future years. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that nearly one fifth of families earning between $75,000 and $100,000 will see an average $500 annual tax increase by 2027.
The thirteen Republicans who voted no were: Rep. Daniel Donovan (N.Y.); Rep. John Faso (N.Y.); Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (N.J.); Rep. Darrell Issa (Calif.); Rep. Walter Jones (N.C.); Rep. Pete King (NY); Rep. Leonard Lance (N.J.); Rep. Frank LoBiondo (N.J.); Rep. Tom McClintock (Calif.); Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (Calif.); Rep. Chris Smith (NJ); Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY); Rep. Lee Zeldin (NY).