COLUMN: Tax Reform is Working for Central Washington

April 22, 2019
Weekly Column and Op-Ed

Tax Day is a day that has been historically regarded as stressful, complicated, and unworthy of any significant praise. It is a day that is typically dreaded by American taxpayers and business owners. However, on Monday, April 15th, we observed the first Tax Day under the new Republican tax code that was signed into law in December 2017. This is a huge milestone, and for the first time in decades, there is reason to celebrate.

I voted to support the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act because our tax code was outdated, convoluted, and unfair. We needed comprehensive tax reform to make the system simpler for Americans, allow taxpayers to keep more of their hard-earned money, and empower small businesses to prosper.

Since then, the economy – in Washington state and across the country – has been thriving, and economists see no sign of it slowing down.

Almost immediately after the bill was signed into law, employees in Central Washington started to see results. Companies large and small began to offer higher wages, additional bonuses, and enhanced parental leave and education benefits. Businesses were finally able to invest in new equipment and better serve their communities, and the United States was, once again, able to compete on a global playing field.

Now, nearly a year and a half later, Americans are still seeing results. While opponents of the tax bill may claim that the lower and middle classes are suffering, the data shows the truth. In the past 12 months, Washington state has added more than 66,700 jobs. The unemployment rate has steadily fallen to 4.5%, and wages are at an all-time high. According to H&R Block, the average customer paid 25% less in federal tax in 2018.

The doubled Child Tax Credit and increased tax credit for adoption has better enabled families to grow and pay for essential resources like diapers, nutritious food, and child care. Extra take home pay has allowed couples to save for their futures and invest in their retirements. The removal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate has relieved thousands of individuals in Central Washington from being penalized for not paying an outrageous price for inaccessible health insurance. And, of course, lower tax bills and the refunds received after Tax Day 2019 will empower Americans to continue to purchase locally and contribute to the growing economies of communities across the country.

I have enjoyed witnessing how the hard-working people of the 4th Congressional District are reaping the benefits of our new tax code. I look forward to seeing how our historic tax reform package continues to revitalize and transform our economy and the well-being of Washington state in the future, and I am hopeful that the anxiety and burden of Tax Day is – finally – lessened for you and your family.