Friday, December 29, 2017

US Senator Bob Portman Lists Benefits to Tax Reform Package

Creating More Jobs & Higher Wages for Ohio Families. When Senator Portman ran for the Senate in 2010, he campaigned on a jobs plan, a key component of which was tax reform.  He promised to help lead an effort to reform our tax code and provide relief to families and small businesses.  In so doing, he kept his commitment to the people of Ohio.  In addition to tax reform, Portman worked on a number of measures to help create jobs, level the playing field for Ohio workers, and make Ohio businesses more competitive.
  • Senator Portman played a leading role in helping craft the landmark tax reforms which were signed into law on December 22, 2017. Portman worked throughout the process to develop and help improve the bill, including adding several amendments during Senate consideration by the Senate Finance Committee.  Here’s a quick rundown on how Portman worked to improve the tax bill, both during Senate deliberations and the final conference agreement:
  • Pushing for Middle-Class Tax Cuts.  Throughout this debate, Portman focused consistently on ensuring that the middle class get a significant tax cut, and at least maintaining the progressivity of the code.  In particular, he focused on lowering tax rates and expanding the child tax credit, and he was successful in doing so.  
  • Expanding Tax Relief for Small Businesses.  Reforms to the business tax code are an essential component of this tax reform law, especially lowering rates for small businesses.  These pro-growth reforms will grow our economy, create more jobs, and make America more competitive with our foreign counterparts.  The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) endorsed the bill.
  • Leveling the Playing Field for American Companies & Workers.  Portman’s bipartisan work on international tax reform is a key component of this tax reform bill.  In 2015, he chaired a bipartisan working group on international tax reform with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), now Minority Leader.  Together they developed a bipartisan framework to reform the international tax code, transition from a worldwide to a territorial tax system, and give American companies a level playing field with their foreign competitors.  The gist of that framework is now a part of the tax reform law.  Details about this 2015 effort are here.
  • Preserving Private Activity Bonds (PABs).  Both in the Senate-passed bill and the final House-Senate agreement, Portman helped preserve PABs, which are an essential source of funding for important infrastructure and community redevelopment projects across Ohio.The original House bill eliminated PABs.
  • Preserving the Historic Tax Credit (HTC).  Portman is a strong supporter of the HTC and worked with Senator Cassidy (R-LA) to restore the current 20 percent credit in both the Senate-passed bill and the final House-Senate agreement after the House eliminated it entirely and an early draft of the Senate bill reduced it to 10 percent.  The HTC encourages private investment in the rehabilitation of historic buildings.  It has been used to preserve numerous historic Ohio buildings, including Cincinnati’s recently rehabilitated iconic Music Hall.  The Cincinnati Enquirer editorial board said “Portman was true to his word and delivered a win for the region.”
  • Preserving the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC).  While the House eliminated the NMTC, Portman led the effort to preserve it in the Senate bill and the final House-Senate agreement, which has been signed into law. The NMTC helps economically distressed communities attract private capital for community redevelopment purposes, and Cincinnati has been a significant beneficiary.  Earlier this year, Portman visited the Nehemiah Manufacturing Company, which is using the NMTC to expand and provide meaningful employment opportunities to ex-offenders re-entering society.
  • Preserving the Work Opportunity Tax Credit.  Portman led the effort to preserve the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which provides employers with a tax credit for hiring and retaining veterans, ex-felons, disabled individuals, summer youth employees, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and Supplemental Security Income recipients. A 2015 Portman amendmentadded a $2,400 credit for first year wages paid to the long-term unemployed.  The House bill eliminated the tax credit, but Portman helped preserve it in the final tax law.

  • Easing the Burden of High Medical Expenses.  The tax reform law includes changes from Portman’s Seniors Tax Hike Prevention Act, which would allow seniors to deduct a greater share of their medical costs. Under the final bill, all taxpayers at any age may take advantage of this expanded deduction.
  • Helping Families Combat Unfair Tax on Student Loans.  The tax reform law includes Portman’s bipartisan Stop Taxing Death and Disability Actlegislation to eliminate a tax penalty levied on student loans forgiven for families after their child develops a permanent disability or dies.
  • Promoting the Craft Beverage Industry in Ohio.  The tax reform law includes the bipartisan Craft Beverage Modernization & Tax Reform Actlegislation cosponsored by Portman that would provide excise tax relief to the growing craft beverage industry, helping these entrepreneurs reinvest more in their businesses and our communities. Ohio is number four in the country in craft beer production and supports 15,000 jobs in the state.
  • Preserving Worker Retirement Security.  The tax reform law includes a Portman amendment to protect small startup businesses’ ability to utilize nonqualified deferred compensation programs for millions of employees and retirees; remove a provision that would have subjected 457 plan participants like Ohio police and firefighters to a harmful 10 percent early distribution tax; and preserve the ability of all 401(k) participants to make catch-up contributions after age 50.  Portman also worked withSenator Susan Collins (R-ME) to preserve additional catch-up contributions available to 457 and 403(b) plans, including clergy in church pension plans. These amendments preserved popular retirement security incentives.
  • Preserving Key Higher Education Tax Incentives.  Along with his colleagues in the Senate, Portman worked to preserve key tax incentives for undergraduate and graduate students, helping Ohio students struggling with the high cost of college.
  • In October, Portman, who this year received the NAM Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence, embarked on an Ohio Auto Manufacturing Jobs Tour.  During the three-day tour, he covered more than 700 miles across Ohio to learn more about recent auto investments into Ohio, raise awareness for the economic impact of the automotive industry in our state, and discuss how tax reform will benefit auto manufacturers. Portman, who is co-chair of the Senate Auto Caucus, visited Ford’s Sharonville Transmission Plant, the General Motors Parma Metal Center, the General Motors Toledo Transmission Plant, the Fiat Chrysler US Toledo Assembly Complex, and the Honda of America Manufacturing Plant in Marysville.  During his visits, Portman discussed a host of issues including regulations, health care costs, trade, workforce development, and our outdated and burdensome tax code. A highlight video of his tour can be found here.
  • In Ohio, Portman has put a priority on his efforts to create jobs and boost wages for Ohio workers.  He held six tax reform roundtables in Ohio with local business leaders to get input on tax reform, and spent time meeting with Ohio businesses and manufacturers. In Columbus, Portman co-hosted a small business roundtable with Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon. They visited Burton Metal Finishing where they toured the facilities and hosted a roundtable discussion with local small business owners.  This year alone, Portman visited Nehemiah Manufacturing in Cincinnati, Campbell Soup Company in Napoleon, International Paper and Food Services in Kenton, Speyside Bourbon Cooperage, Inc. in Jackson, the Haessly Hardwood Lumber Company in Marietta, Sapa Extrusions in Sidney, Pennex Aluminum Company in Leetonia, Cincinnati Crane & Hoist, the General Tool Company in Cincinnati, the GE Aviation Engine Test Facility in Peebles, the BASF plant in Greenville, the Idea Foundry in Columbus, the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET) in Cleveland, and Rice Energy in Belmont County to listen to their concerns and learn about how he can help.
  • Portman’s bipartisan Leveling the Playing Field Act and bipartisan ENFORCE Act are working to help American manufacturers by cracking down on foreign competitors that launder products through other countries to try to get around our trade laws. In March, Portman and Senator Brown urged Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to address unfair trade practices by Korean producers of Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG). In April, the Commerce Department found that Korean steel producers have been unfairly dumping these imports into the U.S. market, leaving Ohio steelworkers and steel companies at a competitive disadvantage. The Senators’ Leveling the Playing Field Act helped pave the way for the positive decision in the case.
  • In addition to his work on the Leveling the Playing Field Act for Ohio steelworkers, Portman has continued to fight to protect steel jobs in the state. In February, Portman joined Senator Brown in introducing the Steel Industry Preservation Actbipartisan legislation that would create a tax credit for domestic steel companies, lower the cost of steel production, and promote job growth within the industry.  Portman and Brown also asked President Trump to prioritize reducing steel overcapacity, urging the administration to take swift action on the 232 investigation, which has been pending for months.  Portman has been awarded the “Congressional Steel Champion Award” for his work to protect the steel industry and Ohio steelworkers.  
  • In July, Portman and Brown announced that, at their urging, the Commerce Department ruled that U.S. aluminum extrusions producers are being harmed by unfair trade practices by foreign competitors. The decision, which will help American manufactures fight back against Chinese efforts to avoid our trade laws, resulted from a letter Portman and Brown sent to Secretary Ross in June.
  • In September, Portman, who in February hosted an employee town hall meeting with Whirlpool employees at their plant in Clyde, testified before the International Trade Commission (ITC) to fight on behalf of Ohio Whirlpool workers and against unfair trade practices. In October, the ITC ruled to impose restrictions on imported washing machines that will help stop South Korean manufacturers from unfairly flooding the American market, thus helping protect Whirlpool jobs.
  • In April, Senators Portman and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) introduced the bipartisan Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) designed to make federal regulations smarter and more effective so they better support businesses, families, and jobs.  This bill will modernize a federal regulatory process that hasn’t been significantly reformed in 70 years. The legislation, which is widely supported by small businesses, workers, farmers and ranchers, was approved by the Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee in May and now awaits a vote on the Senate floor.
  • In 2015, Portman got his bipartisan Federal Permitting Improvement Act signed into law. This year, Portman worked to ensure the law is fully implemented in order to spur economic growth and job creation. Director of Office of the Management and Budget (OMB) Mick Mulvaney and the Deputy Director of the OMB pledged to Portman that they would work to get the law up and running.  In addition, the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations held an oversight hearing in September to examine implementation of the law and the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council’s progress to date, with the goal of more efficiently and effectively rebuilding our aging infrastructure.  
  • Portman, who is the co-founder of the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus and author of the Education Tomorrow’s Workforce Act, continued his strong support for expanding CTE programs to help close the skills gap and put more Ohioans to work. As part of his efforts to close the skills gap, Portman joined Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) to introduce the bipartisan JOBS Act to help students access training for the 5.5 million vacant jobs that are unfilled in part because of a shortage of qualified workers. He also introduced the bipartisan CTE Excellence and Equity Actto support re-designing the high school experience to include courses more relevant to the 21st century workforce to better prepare students for future careers.
  • In April, following a previous visit in February, Portman hosted Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao at the Transportation Research Center (TRC) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Vehicle Research and Test Center (VRTC) in East Liberty. Portman was instrumental in keeping the NHTSA facility in East Liberty, part of his continuing efforts to help Central Ohio become a model for the nation on how to use smart, 21st-century transportation to help create economic growth and expand opportunity.
  • In May, Portman helped secure full funding for the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. Portman has long fought to protect funding for the center, which is an economic driver for the local community and supports thousands of Ohio jobs.

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