Sen. John Thune
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which became law just before the beginning of the new year, is already working for South Dakotans and the rest of the American people. When we were debating it in Congress – myself, as a member of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee and the conference committee that negotiated the final tax bill – I repeatedly laid out the reasons why I thought it was the right policy and the right time to pursue it. The results are starting to speak for themselves.
Exactly two weeks after this historic legislation became law, businesses from coast to coast announced they were awarding bonuses to more than 1 million workers, cumulatively, as a direct result of pro-growth tax reform. With Walmart’s recent announcement that it will be raising wages, offering bonuses, and expanding other benefits for its employees, including more than 5,300 in South Dakota, that number has already grown to more than 2 million.
From a story right in our own backyard, Great Western Bank, which is based in Sioux Falls and has branches throughout South Dakota and eight other states around the country, recently announced that it will be raising wages, offering bonuses, and enhancing employee health care offerings as a result of tax reform. In the announcement, the chairman of Great Western Bancorp said, “We want to kick off 2018 by investing in our people and communities.”
The end-of-year announcement by Molded Fiber Glass (MFG) that it will keep its doors open longer than expected was welcome news for its employees and the entire Aberdeen community. Since tax reform maintained existing law as it related to the Production Tax Credit, something I strongly advocated for throughout the tax reform debate, a substantial order was placed that will keep operations going and give MFG additional time to explore other partnerships.
This is all good news, but it’s only the beginning. Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act lowered rates for all taxpayers in 2018, workers will soon see their paychecks go up, too. The government’s new payroll withholding tables were just released, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury expects nine out of 10 workers will see larger paychecks starting in February.
And when taxpayers file their 2018 tax returns next year, middle-income South Dakotans will feel the benefits of a doubled child tax credit and a doubled standard deduction (which, for example, means a married couple filing jointly will not pay taxes on the first $24,000 of their income).
The fundamental difference throughout this tax reform debate was that Republicans believe Americans know better than the federal government how to spend their hard-earned money. Our votes on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reflected that belief. Democrats believe the federal government and its bureaucrats know more about your bottom line and can spend your money better than you can. Unfortunately, their votes on the tax reform bill reflected that belief.
I helped write the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and voting for it will be one of the most memorable moments during my time in Congress. I strongly believe that by supporting this bill, Republicans stood on the right side of history, and I’m glad the American people are already reaping the benefits from it.