On the eve of the votes, 4 fact checks on the GOP tax plan

The GOP tax plan is touted as a boost for the economy, but even people in "Trump country," such as this group in Mauston, Wis., have shown little enthusiasm for it. (Craig Gilbert/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
The GOP tax plan is touted as a boost for the economy, but even people in "Trump country," such as this group in Mauston, Wis., have shown little enthusiasm for it. (Craig Gilbert/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Congress is expected to vote as early as Dec. 19, 2017 on a Republican tax plan that is touted for cutting taxes for corporations and individuals, and yet has generated little enthusiasm even in places that could be called Trump country.

We’ve done four fact checks on the GOP plan over the past 10 days.

Here’s a quick review:

Paul Ryan: The 1986 tax reform approved under Ronald Reagan "was polling at about 18 percent right before they passed it."

Our rating: Half True.

Two national polls, taken at roughly the stage of where the current tax reform effort was when the Republican House speaker from Wisconsin made his statement, showed 22 percent favored the legislation. That’s close to Ryan’s 18 percent claim.

But two other polls showed approval of the 1986 bill at or near 40 percent, as more respondents were willing to choose Approve or Disapprove, rather than Don’t Know. Moreover, the disapproval rates in polls on the current tax reform are much higher than they were in the 1986 polls.

Gwen Moore: The House tax plan "would provide permanent tax cuts for individuals who are multi-millionaires and billionaires," but "all middle-class families will eventually face a tax increase, since tax relief for them expires."

Our rating: Half True.

The richest would benefit from tax cuts that are permanent, as the Democratic congresswoman from Milwaukee said, but most in the middle class also would see lower taxes each year from 2018 through 2027. It’s estimated that only 25 to 30 percent of middle-class households, not all of them, would see a tax increase by 2027.

Kelda Helen Roys: "Under Trump’s new tax plan … 99.8 percent of Americans" get "not one nickel" in tax cuts.

Our rating: Pants on Fire.

The former state Assembly member and current Democratic candidate for governor said she was referring to the Republican proposal to repeal the federal estate tax, which would only benefit the wealthiest and does not apply to 99.8 percent of Americans.

But her tweet made no reference to the estate tax. It gave the impression she was referring to Trump’s overall tax plan. That plan has its critics, including those who believe it gives too much to the rich. Nevertheless, as has been widely reported, the plan offers widespread tax cuts.

Ryan: Under the House Republican tax plan, in Wisconsin, "the median household of four gets about a $2,000 tax cut, on average."

Our rating: Half True.

That’s true if the typical household Ryan describes claims a standard deduction on their taxes rather than itemizing deductions. The savings would be $2,081 -- in 2018. But many Wisconsin households at that income level would see a savings of several hundred dollars less because they would no longer be able to claim deductions such as one for medical expenses, which the House bill eliminates. Moreover, because of the way the House bill is written, even the household that saves $2,081 in 2018 would see that savings drop in each year, down to an estimated $767 in 2027.





 

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