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Biden’s Pledge To Let Trump’s Tax Cuts Die Has Stirred Up A Hornet’s Nest


Calls for higher taxes are a pillar of President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign, as he pledges to allow the popular Tax Cuts and Jobs of Act (TCJA) of 2017 to expire at the end of 2025.

“That tax cut is going to expire,” President Biden recently tweeted. “If I’m reelected, it’s going to stay expired.”

It is a costly gamble, as two-thirds of Americans say federal income taxes are already too high. Most will face even higher tax bills if the president delivers on his promise.

But opposition to Biden’s tone-deaf message is growing. Recently, a group of state legislators with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) delivered a letter to leaders on Capitol Hill, urging Congress to permanently extend the TCJA, former President Donald Trump’s signature tax reform package, before it’s too late.

The growing list of signers includes 350 state lawmakers across 43 states who are amplifying the voices of their constituents. In their letter, these state leaders rightly note: “Allowing the TCJA to expire would result in a massive tax increase on hardworking American taxpayers, a significant decline in American competitiveness, fewer jobs, reduced wage income for workers, and higher prices.”

As higher mortgage rates and costly gas and grocery bills put a dent in the budget of every family and small business, Americans can ill afford another tax increase.

If Congress fails to renew the TCJA, 23 provisions directly relating to individual income taxes, such as the reductions in personal income tax rates, the near doubling of the standard deduction, and the substantial reduction of the hated Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) will expire at the end of 2025.

The TCJA was the first comprehensive federal tax reform since the Reagan tax reform in 1986. It resulted in a $1.5 trillion net tax cut followed by historically low unemployment levels. Federal tax rates fell for households across every income level. Middle-income earners saved more than $1,500 annually.

There was also a $6,000 increase in real median household income over two years — which included scores of raises and bonuses for workers immediately after the 2017 tax cuts were adopted. More than 100 million American taxpayers from all income groups experienced real tax relief thanks to the TCJA.

Additionally, the TCJA rightfully limited the amount of money taxpayers could claim under the state and local tax (SALT) deduction to $10,000 annually. Prior to this important reform, the federal tax code subsidized high-tax states by allowing unlimited state and local tax deductions.

Returning to the unlimited state and local tax (SALT) deduction would encourage states to implement higher taxes and increase spending.

One especially key element of TCJA that got far too little attention in Washington was the rocket fuel the federal tax reform added to pro-growth tax reform efforts in dozens of states. This was accomplished because the TCJA broadened the federal tax base, which in turn led to broader state tax bases in many cases, and thus unforeseen revenue gains at the state level.

As we have documented annually in our report “Rich States, Poor States,” the TCJA was a game changer that helped to kick off a state tax cut revolution, providing hardworking taxpayers a second benefit from the federal tax cuts.

To restore fiscal sanity, America needs spending restraint rather than a tax hike. The federal government has a spending problem — not a revenue problem. Washington collected $4.4 trillion in tax revenue in 2023, up from $2.78 trillion a decade earlier. Despite these soaring revenues, the national debt is surging toward $35 trillion.

As Missouri Republican House Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith stated last Wednesday: “The last thing Americans need is for Washington to take more money out of their pockets. Policymakers must hear directly from those who live and work in our communities.”

Thankfully, hundreds of state lawmakers representing countless Americans are answering the call.

Their message to Washington is clear: The costs of gas, groceries and mortgages are out of control already. Hands off our paychecks.

Jonathan Williams is the executive vice president of policy and chief economist at the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council. Follow him on X at @TaxEconomist.

Lee Schalk is vice president of policy at ALEC.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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