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Congressman Gus Bilirakis

Representing the 12th District of Florida

Op-Ed by Congressman Gus Bilirakis

December 20, 2017
Bilirakis Blog

Dear Editor,

We have kept a promise to voters by passing tax reform that helps the middle class and small businesses, while stimulating economic growth.  This bill will double the standard deduction, lower tax rates for all income brackets and dramatically increase the child tax credit, which will help millions of Americans keep more of their hard earned money.  

The increase in the standard deduction will also simplify the tax system, as fewer people will itemize.  However, the bill preserves the most important deductions many Americans depend upon.  For example, the mortgage interest deduction will remain in place, up to $750,000.  Americans will be allowed to deduct up to $10,000 in state and local taxes, and deductions for retirement savings accounts will continue. Additionally, the bill expands the medical expense deduction to better help those suffering with chronic or unexpected illnesses.  

In recognition of the fact that our long-term success is dependent upon the education of our future leaders, the deduction on student loan interest, the teacher supply deduction and the exclusion for tuition waivers received by graduate students remain in place.

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy.  They are the innovators employing most Americans.  The top tax rate on these businesses will be 25%, a significant reduction from the current 39.6% rate.  Additionally, the corporate tax rate will be lowered to 21%.  These measures will help stimulate economic growth, create jobs, boost wages, and bring back businesses that fled overseas due to our historically disadvantageous tax system.  

The tax bill also repeals the Obamacare mandate.  Contrary to false assertions, this provision does not leave millions of people without health care.  It simply no longer financially penalizes people who either choose not to, or cannot afford to, purchase a compliant health insurance plan.  I believe we must revisit health care reform and ensure that all Americans actually have access to high quality, affordable health insurance options.    

There have been many fear tactics and misinformation campaigns employed. However, independent researchers at the Tax Foundation estimate the bill provides an average middle income family in Florida with a gain of $2,252, and adds 53,000 new jobs to the Florida economy. The discussion on tax reform has helped generate a 3.3% GDP last quarter, an amount many economists said would be impossible to achieve only a year ago. And now, the New York Federal Reserve raised its estimate of fourth quarter growth to near 4%! Furthermore, the notion that tax reform will negatively impact Medicare and Social Security is an outright falsehood. These programs are not altered in the bill and my constituents have my solemn commitment that I understand the importance of preserving them for our seniors.

I am proud to be part of a generational shift that comes around once in a lifetime. Changing the status quo on broken government programs like the IRS might be scary to some people, but I choose to be on the side of my working class constituents instead of big government…every single time.


Gus Bilirakis, Member of Congress