By Kristian Jaime
The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce hosted Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) for the 2017 Congressional Series luncheon to discuss the successes and failures of the recent Congressional Session.
Senator Cruz (R-TX) has also provided a legislative update on the 115th Session of Congress; and give an inside perspective on continued plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and proposed comprehensive tax reform advanced by the White House.
Since being elected in 2012, Senator Cruz (R-TX) has characterized himself as a proponent for limited government, economic growth, and a strict reading of the Constitution. Among the committees on which he sits includes the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; the Committee on Armed Services; the Committee on the Judiciary; the Special Committee on Aging; and the Committee on Rules and Administration.
“My focus is on fighting for 28 million Texans and delivering real results,” said Senator Cruz (R-TX). “I am focusing on a fundamental tax reform, lifting the burden that’s crushing small businesses, [repealing] Obamacare and nominating and confirming strong constitutionalists to the U.S. and Federal courts.”
There are currently over 1.2 million Texans who are enrolled in the marketplace and over 100,000 of them live in Bexar County. Although beneficial for many underprivileged Texans, Senator Cruz believes it is one of the biggest job killers in this country.
The Senator argued Obamacare is hurting small businesses due to expensive healthcare plans with premiums on the rise. This leads to many small business employees to have part time work to not lose health insurance. According to Senator Cruz (R-TX), the premiums for an average family have risen over $5000 dollars a year.
“The last few weeks has been frustrating in that regard,” continued Cruz. “We have got to fix and lower premiums with more choices, competitions, options and more consumer freedom.”
Also slated to be introduced was passing the Republican Tax Plan, one that rolls back the complicated IRS rules and replaces the byzantine tax code with “a simple, fair tax.”
Among the numerous changes proposed by the White House and backed by Republican leadership includes: lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent, reducing the income brackets to only three whereby the lowest only pays 10 percent, the middle incomes pay 25 percent and the wealthiest only pay 35 percent.
Aside from increasing the standard deduction many claim, Republicans would also do away with the estate tax and create a special tax rate for small businesses. On the chopping block are both itemized deductions and business tax breaks. In financial limbo is the deductibility of interest payments and write-offs for new corporate investments.
“Imagine 4.9 million new jobs and average wages rising 12.2 percent over the next decade. Capital investment rising 43.9 percent. And every income-level seeing double-digit increases in after-tax income,” continued Sen. Cruz (R-TX)
However, this proposal does not fully replace the revenue from the existing tax system. In FY2017, the federal revenue was $3.3 trillion and half of that came from income taxes and nine percent came from corporate taxes.
According to Forbes, most flat tax proposals do not replace existing Federal revenue because the rate would be too high leading to an increase of the national deficit and debt.
The flat tax must address payroll taxes that support Social Security and Medicare benefits because once the flat tax eliminates it, a third of federal income will be removed. The flat tax will also leaves in place all state and local taxes meaning that families and businesses must still spend nearly the same amount of time to figure out their local tax bill.
The upper class’ capital gains, dividends and interest will be eliminated. However their exemptions including the Social Security exclusion will persist. Sen. Cruz (R-TX) seemingly has to review the details of comprehensive tax reform before it is completed.
Another topics addressed by Sen. Cruz (R-TX) was the removal of Confederate statues and flags around the state including Six Flags Fiesta Texas and the University of Texas in Austin.
“This issue touches powerful emotions because it brings back our country’s original sin of slavery,” concluded Sen. Cruz (R-TX). “ I hope it evokes that we have 600,000 lives lost in the Civil War to end slavery. It’s not helpful to sanitize the past or hide from it. We need to learn we can work on fighting evil.”