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Thune: South Dakotans Deserve Permanent Tax Relief

“Tax reform helped create an economic environment that encouraged growth and set the American people up for new opportunities, higher wages, and a more secure future.”

December 20, 2022

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed the upcoming five-year anniversary of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act being signed into law, which helped create an economic environment that encouraged growth and set the American people up for new opportunities, higher wages, and a more secure future. Thune noted that allowing key elements in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to expire would raise taxes in the midst of record-high inflation, and he encouraged his Democratic colleagues to work with Republicans to permanently extend various expiring provisions.

Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):


“Mr. President, I want to begin by congratulating the South Dakota State football team on an incredible win on Saturday in Brookings.


“Thanks to their great performance in Saturday’s game – which included five scores in their first five possessions – the Jacks are headed to the FCS National Championship for the second time in three seasons. 


“Saturday’s win is the latest in a banner season for the Jacks, who have gone 13 and 1 and led the conference to become the number-one seed in the FCS tournament.


“Of course, Saturday’s game would not have been possible without the men and women who worked to clear the roads around Brookings and the volunteers and staff who cleared the field and the seats after a major snowstorm last week.


“I’m grateful for their hard work, which allowed thousands of Jacks fans like me to be there to cheer on our team.


“And I’m looking forward to rooting for the Jacks next month when they take on North Dakota State in the championship in Frisco, Texas – where, hopefully, it will be a little warmer than nine degrees.


“Mr. President, December 22 will mark the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.


“It’s been five years since Republicans reformed the tax code to allow Americans to keep more of their hard-earned money.


“Five years since we modernized the tax code to encourage businesses to invest in America and create good-paying jobs here.


“And five years since our economy started to rebound after years of stagnant wages and slow growth.  


“Mr. President, Republicans know that government doesn’t create jobs and that Washington can’t legislate prosperity.


“But government can certainly get in the way of prosperity.


“And before tax reform, too often our tax code was getting in the way.


“It was taking too much money from Americans’ paychecks.


“It was making it difficult for businesses large and small to create jobs, increase wages, and grow.


“And it contained perverse incentives for companies to park profits abroad and avoid manufacturing things here in the United States.


“Republicans knew things needed to change. 


“And so we set to work to reform our tax code to put more money in American families’ pockets and help grow our economy.


“We lowered tax rates across the board and simplified the tax code so that hardworking Americans would pay less in taxes – and spend less time filing them every April.


“We lowered tax rates for owners of small and medium-sized businesses, farms, and ranches and made it easier for them to recover the cost of investing in their businesses – which in turn freed up cash for them to invest in their operations and their workers.


“We lowered our nation’s sky-high corporate tax rate, which prior to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world, to make American businesses more competitive in the global economy and empower them to invest in wages and benefits for their workers.  


“And we modernized our international tax system so that American businesses would no longer be operating at a disadvantage next to their foreign counterparts.   


“And, Mr. President, it worked.


“In the wake of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, wages and incomes for American workers grew.


“Unemployment fell to a fifty-year low.


“The poverty rate fell to the lowest level ever recorded.


“African Americans and Hispanic Americans saw record-low rates of poverty and unemployment.


“The income gap narrowed.


“Business investment increased.


“Companies created new jobs.


“They invested in their employees.


“And they opened new opportunities for American workers by moving production and capital into the United States.


“Tax reform also spelled an end to the wave of companies moving their headquarters out of the United States.


“Prior to tax reform, there was a growing trend of corporate inversions – tax-speak for companies picking up and moving their legal headquarters offshore – due to our dysfunctional tax code.


“Since tax reform, there hasn’t been a single U.S. corporate inversion – which means more jobs and opportunities for workers here at home.


“And, Mr. President, contrary to claims that tax reform mostly benefited the wealthy, it was actually lower- and middle-income Americans who saw the greatest benefits.


“In fact, the top 1 percent of taxpayers are paying a greater share of taxes today than they were before tax reform.


“And I haven’t even mentioned the fact that tax reform has helped result in record-high revenues for the federal government.


“Mr. President, unfortunately, we were not able to make all of the tax reform in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act permanent, and some provisions have already begun to expire.   


“One important pro-growth provision on its way to phase-out is bonus depreciation.


“Manufacturers, farmers and ranchers, and several other industries have relied on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s bonus depreciation provision, which allows them to immediately deduct the full cost of investment in short-term assets, such as machinery and equipment.


“But bonus depreciation will soon begin to phase down, making new investment in productive equipment a more expensive proposition for businesses of all sizes.


“Extending the bonus depreciation provision – or better yet, making it permanent – would not only provide certainty to American businesses, it would create tens of thousands of new jobs, increase wages, and grow our economy by making it easier for businesses to invest and expand.


“And it would have even more of an impact in today’s high-inflation environment, where investment dollars are going a lot less far than they used to.


“In addition, under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, this year businesses lost the ability to fully expense research and development costs in the year they incur them.


“Full R&D expensing is beneficial to many businesses, but it’s especially important for manufacturers and for high-tech industries, where cutting-edge research and development is critical for innovation and continued leadership in these fields.


“And for the sake of American workers and American industry, we should restore full R&D expensing.


“Mr. President, at the end of 2025, many of the lower tax rates for working families and small businesses will expire.


“Middle-income families – who received a tax cut the year following tax reform – will see a tax hike in 2026 if middle-income tax cuts are not extended or made permanent.


“Also at the end of 2025 the increased death tax exemption level is set to expire, leaving more family farms and small businesses subject to this punitive tax.


“I’ve seen the consequences of the death tax when a family has to sell their farm, ranch, or small business because they don’t have enough cash to pay this massive tax on their loved one’s life’s work.


“And I hope that we will not only extend the increased death tax exemption level but will permanently eliminate this unfair tax.


“Mr. President, tax reform worked.


“It worked for American families.


“It worked for farmers and ranchers.


“And it worked for American businesses.


“Allowing key elements of tax reform to expire would reduce opportunity and raise taxes for hardworking Americans at a time when their pocketbooks are already strained thanks to the historic inflation crisis Democrats helped create.


“And I hope that my colleagues across the aisle will recognize this and work with Republicans to permanently extend the expiring provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – and continue efforts to make the tax code simpler, fairer, and more competitive. 


“The president likes to talk about giving families ‘a little breathing room.’


“Well, there’s no better way to give families breathing room than by allowing them to keep more of their hard-earned money.


“And I hope the president will take an honest look at the success of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and come out in support of making these pro-growth policies permanent.


“I am disappointed that my Democrat colleagues recently chose to forgo the chance to extend full R&D expensing and 100 percent bonus depreciation in the year-end funding bill.


“Extending these should be a no-brainer – and Democrats should not be holding these essential business credits hostage to a partisan agenda.


“Mr. President, tax reform helped create an economic environment that encouraged growth and set the American people up for new opportunities, higher wages, and a more secure future.


“It’s time to build on these successes and extend the benefits of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act for the long term.


“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”