You’ve probably been hearing a lot about tax reform lately, and we wanted to take this opportunity to update you on the action we have taken in Congress to save you money, grow our economy, and create good jobs here in Louisiana and throughout the nation. Wednesday (Dec. 20), Congress sent the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to President Trump’s desk, keeping our promise to make bold, conservative tax reform a reality before Christmas.
Here’s the bottom line: This reform puts more money into the pockets of hard-working families, creates more jobs at higher wages and gets our economy growing again.
For far too long, American families, workers, and small businesses have struggled under the weight of a broken, outdated tax code that is way too complicated. Like most of you, we are tired of watching thousands of good jobs being shipped overseas because America is dead last in tax competitiveness. With the president’s signature on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, America can once again be the world leader in job creation and economic growth, and we can rebuild our middle class by making sure those high-paying jobs are created right here at home instead of foreign countries.
The American people deserve tax relief. Thanks to this law, families in every income group will see that relief. In our plan, we double the standard deduction and get rid of special interest loopholes, leveling the playing field for the middle class and allowing you to keep more hard-earned income in your wallet. In fact, the average American family will see a tax cut of $2,059. And by overhauling the code to make it more simple and fair, we finally end the days of wasting time and money just trying to figure out how to file your family’s tax return.
Studies show that passage of this law will generate hundreds of thousands of new jobs in our country over the next decade and beyond. For Louisiana, this will mean significant increases in wage growth and job creation. This plan will create new opportunities for American businesses and goes further to help stop good jobs from moving overseas by encouraging companies to manufacture their goods in the U.S. We’ve seen companies move countless high-paying jobs to other countries because we had the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. We finally change that, and under this historic law, we can start bringing those jobs back home.
Both of us worked tirelessly to ensure tax reform will deliver for the people of Louisiana. The law includes an important provision that will provide significant new funding for coastal restoration and hurricane protection in Louisiana. Our provision provides an additional $300 million for revenue sharing for Gulf States, and Louisiana should expect to receive at least $100 million of that funding to restore our coast and protect against future storms. This is a landmark victory for coastal restoration and puts down an important marker for future increases in Louisiana’s revenue sharing.
We engaged our colleagues and outside stakeholders to maintain the Historic Tax Credit, an investment and jobs program that has brought thousands of historic buildings back to useful life across the country. Since 2002 in Louisiana, the Historic Tax Credit has facilitated over 782 projects, bringing $2.5 billion in private investment to our cities and towns and creating more than 38,000 jobs. We can especially see these benefits in New Orleans, where much of the city’s unique architecture and history has been preserved through the use of the credit. The important benefits of the historic tax credit will help Louisiana continue to preserve and revitalize areas across our state.
We also won a hard-fought victory to provide overdue disaster tax relief to victims of major floods across the state during 2016. Tens of thousands of Louisianians were affected by flooding that spring, and in that August, more than 100,000 more were hit by the Great Flood of 2016. This disaster tax relief will allow individuals and families to take a tax deduction for the property losses they suffered because of those storms, and it also eliminates the IRS’s early withdrawal tax penalty for those who used their retirement funds to recover and rebuild.
After more than 30 years, it is long past time that Americans take back control of our economy, our jobs, and our paychecks. The people of Southeast Louisiana did their part in electing President Trump to the White House and Republican majorities to Congress to do just that: pass common-sense laws that will get our economy moving again and restore our middle class. By passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law, we delivered on that promise. This bill creates a simpler and fairer code for all Americans. It creates and keeps jobs here at home while giving small business owners the flexibility they need to grow. Most importantly, this plan allows you to keep more of your hard-earned paycheck.
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Jefferson) is the House Majority Whip. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-Baton Rouge) is Louisiana’s senior Senator. This piece originally appeared at the New Orleans Times-Picayune.