Local Congressional reps hint at opposition to GOP tax bill


CAPITAL REGION -- Democratic Congressman Paul Tonko says he still hasn't gotten through reading the GOP's highly-publicized tax bill, titled the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.” Tonko says he wants more time to assess it. He views the bill as a handout to the wealthy, with the bill's slashing of the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent, and gutting of the Corporate alternative minimum tax.

"I don’t even know if we will have scores on this before a vote is taken. This has been done in the dark in the background. I have talked to colleagues on both sides of the aisle who don't know what's in the bill. This is not the way to deal with America's economy," Tonko said.

On the other side of the aisle, Republican Congressman John Faso says he will likely vote against the bill, due to its capping of the local or property tax deduction at $10,000. Faso says that number looks marginal in a high-tax state like New York.

"The $10,000 deductibility for state property taxes and state income taxes is an improvement, but it’s not I think good enough to deal with the issues that we are facing. It is going to drive a lot of people out of state; businesspeople, more affluent earners, because they're going to get a big tax increase," Faso said.

Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, who voted against the House version of the tax bill, is also still sifting through the final version. A staffer said in a statement sent to CBS 6 that she's leaning towards voting against the bill.

President Donald Trump, along with other supporters of the bill, say it will help trigger business investment and grow the economy.

"Our economy is doing fantastically well but it has another big step to go, and it can't take that step unless we have the tax bill,” Trump said.

Right now no Democrats in the House or Senate have pledged their support for the bill. President Trump has said he wants the final version on his desk before Christmas.

Below is a list of highlights of the 1,000-page bill, provided to us by CBS News.

• Eliminates penalty under the Affordable Care Act for failing to have health insurance

• Lowers corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent (higher than the original 20 percent in the House and Senate bills)

• Reduces top effective marginal tax rate for S corporations to a top rate of 29.6 percent, allowing for a 20 percent tax deduction that applies to the first $315,000 of joint income earned by all S-corporations

• Eliminates corporate Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT); increases the exemption amount from the AMT for individuals

• Keeps seven individual tax brackets, although those brackets would change.

• Continues to exempt the value of tuition waivers from taxes (the GOP had considered counting tuition waivers as income, and thus, taxable.)

• Increases the refundable portion of the child tax credit to $1,400, thanks to Rubio's insistence. The overall child tax credit will increase from $1,000 to $2,000.

• Roughly doubles the standard deduction, from $6,350 to $12,000 for individuals, and from $12,700 to $24,000 for married couples filing jointly

• Preserves the child adoption tax credit

• Allows filers to write off the cost of state and local taxes, but only up to $10,000. Filers must choose from among sales, income and property taxes for the deduction, instead of being able to deduct all local taxes.

• Preserves the mortgage interest deduction for all homeowners with existing mortgages, and for homeowners with new mortgages, the home mortgage interest deduction will be available up to $750,000

• Preserves the charitable deduction as it is

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