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GOP debates retroactive tax cuts

Aug 11, 2017 | ,

WASHINGTON (The Hill) – Republicans are debating whether parts of their tax-reform package should be retroactive in order to boost the economy by quickly putting more money in people’s wallets.

Already under pressure to secure a significant legislative victory prior to the midterm elections, some Republicans argue that having tax changes take effect as early as January 2017 could help their case.

The House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees are weighing the issue as they write legislation that can be introduced after the August recess.

Those pushing for retroactive tax changes in recent days include several prominent Republicans.House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said last week that retroactive tax cuts are important so that the benefits of the tax changes are realized sooner.

“We need to make it retroactive so that we unleash the cash and the capital that is sitting there that’s ready to be invested,“ Meadows said.

Publishing executive Steve Forbes, who backed President Trump during the 2016 presidential election, said Tuesday in an op-ed for his magazinethat it’s crucial for tax cuts to be retroactive.

“Very important, the GOP must make these reductions retroactive to the beginning of 2017,” he wrote. “We want this tax bill to kick up the economy ASAP. And it wouldn’t hurt if people got big tax refunds next April.”

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and former Best Buy CEO Brad Anderson wrote in an op-ed in USA Today last week Congress needs to pass tax cuts by Thanksgiving that are retroactive to the start of 2017 in order for Republicans to keep their majorities in Congress.

“By 2018, the tax cuts will have spurred economic growth and wage increases, giving Republicans substantial momentum and a popular record of success to tout during their campaigns,” they wrote.

Some conservatives have also said that cuts to capital gains tax rates and any expansion of businesses’ ability to immediately write off their capital investment should be retroactive to the date of legislation’s introduction. Absent such retroactivity, people could delay capital gains realizations and new investments, which could hurt federal revenues and the economy.

“You don’t want anyone to delay a decision or economic activity because the taxes are going to go down in the future,” said Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist.

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