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Senator Collins Announces Support for Passage of Comprehensive Tax Reform

As a result of her negotiations with Senate leaders, Senator Collins secured multiple changes that equaled a tenth of the total tax cut to provide additional benefits for the middle class

The legislation is the first comprehensive reform of our nation’s tax code in three decades

Click HERE to watch Senator Collins’ floor remarks

Click HERE to read Senator Collins’ floor remarks

Washington, D.C.—In remarks from the Senate floor this afternoon, U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) announced her support for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the first major overhaul of our nation’s tax code since 1986.

“This bill puts money back in the pockets of the American public with tax cuts beginning January 1st.  As soon as the IRS updates withholding tables this winter, taxpayers will see the benefit of this bill in higher take-home-pay. Over time, Americans will continue to benefit from this legislation in the form of higher wages.  Businesses, small and large, will make the investments that create more jobs,” said Senator Collins.  “While this legislation is by no means perfect, on balance, it will provide much-needed tax relief.  It will benefit lower- and middle-income families, while spurring the creation of good jobs and greater economic growth for our nation.”

Most Maine Households Will See Their Taxes Lowered:

  • The legislation nearly doubles the standard deduction to $12,000 for single filers and $24,000 for joint filers.
  • The child tax credit will also be doubled from $1,000 to $2,000, and up to $1,400 of that tax credit will be refundable in order to benefit low-income families. 

The 72 percent of Mainers who already use the standard deduction will have their taxes reduced.  A family with $24,000 in income will pay no federal income tax.   A single mother earning $35,000 with one child will see her taxes drop by nearly 4,000 percent.  Instead of paying money to Washington, she will be getting back nearly $1,100 to help her make ends meet.

A couple with no children, earning $60,000, will see their taxes fall by more than $900.  And a couple with two children earning $60,000 will get a tax cut of about $1,700—a reduction of more than 100 percent.   The bottom line is that most Maine households will see their taxes lowered. 

Bill Will Help Maine Businesses Grow and Create Jobs:

Over the past month, numerous Maine businesses and organizations have spoken in support of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, noting the significant impact it will have on their ability to grow and create jobs. 

  • New Balance, which has about 900 workers in Maine manufacturing sneakers, said that “Companies like New Balance, which already has a strong domestic manufacturing presence, will be able to increase investments in their facilities and be more globally competitive while remaining a U.S. company hiring U.S. workers.”
  • The general manager of the Pratt & Whitney plant in North Berwick said “The reforms…will allow companies like ours to bring home earnings from abroad to invest in research and development, advanced manufacturing, energy efficiency and workforce initiatives…Pratt & Whitney plans to hire thousands of people over the next several years across our U.S. operations, and this tax reform will further support our efforts to help keep the U.S. a global leader in manufacturing and technology.”

Other Maine business leaders, companies, and organizations that have endorsed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act include: the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, the Manufacturers Association of Maine, Pottle’s Transportation in Bangor, the plant manager of GE Power in Bangor, the owner of Windham Millwork in Windham, the innkeeper of the Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport, and the Augusta-based Retail Association of Maine, among others.

Legislation Includes Senator Collins’ Amendments to Benefit Working Families:

In a significant victory for middle-income Americans, the legislation includes three amendments Senator Collins authored that will further reduce the tax burden on hardworking Americans, enhance retirement security, and help families who are struggling to afford high medical costs.  Specifically, her provisions will:

  • Allow taxpayers to deduct up to $10,000 for state and local taxes.  This is especially important to Maine, which has the 13th highest state and local tax burden in the nation;  
  • Retain and reduce the income threshold for deducting medical expenses, which will help people with high medical costs, particularly seniors and people with chronic conditions.  Approximately 8.8 million Americans use this deduction, nearly half of whom have incomes of $50,000 or less; and
  • Reverse the original Senate language eliminating the ability of public employees like firefighters, school teachers, and police officers as well as clergy and those employed by charities and non-profit organizations to make “catch-up” contributions to their retirement accounts.  These employees are generally paid less than their counterparts employed by for-profit companies and are thus less able to save for retirement.  Senator Collins’ provision will allow them to continue making these important investments toward a secure retirement. 

Senator Collins Secured Commitments to Stabilize Health Care, Protect Medicare:

Senator Collins secured the commitment of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to pass two important bills before the end of the year to mitigate health insurance premium increases caused by the repeal of the individual mandate. Senator McConnell promised to support passage of both Alexander-Murray, a proposal to help low-income families afford insurance, and Senator Collins’ bipartisan bill to protect people with pre-existing conditions through the use of high-risk pools.  An analysis released last week by Oliver Wyman found that the passage of these two bills will more than offset the impact of the repeal of the individual mandate.

Moreover, in response to a letter sent by Senator Collins, Senator McConnell committed to preventing an automatic $25 billion cut to Medicare that could be triggered unintentionally by the passage of tax reform legislation under the Pay-Go law.  That pledge was joined by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.  Although Congress has acted 16 times since 2010 to avert such cuts — Senator Collins wanted to ensure that this critical issue would be addressed.

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