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House Republicans Reveal Tax Reform Plan

WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork) – After much anticipation, House Republicans revealed their tax reform plan Thursday morning.

The announcement was delayed by a day.

The plan is the first major revamp of the tax system in three decades. It slashes the corporate tax rate and also lowers tax rates for many.

As CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported, President Donald Trump praised the tax cut plan.

“We’re working to give the American people a giant tax cut for Christmas,’ Trump said. “We are giving them a big, beautiful Christmas present.”

When it comes to your 401(k) retirement account, the new plan would leave the rules as is.

But the plan limits the deduction for mortgage interest for new home loans of $500,000 or less – in a steep reduction from the current $1 million.

The plan also reduces the number of tax brackets from seven down to four – with tax rates of 12, 25 and 35 percent. It keeps the top tax bracket at 39.6 percent for top earners.

This simplifies the personal tax code – your return could fit on a postcard. But some two-income, upper middle class families would pay more after being bumped into a higher tax bracket.

The bill also aims to double the standard deduction from $12,000 to $24,000. According to GOP leaders, this – combined with an increase in the child tax credit – means middle-income families would pay less.

“If you’ve got some kids, take that number of kids and multiply it by $600, because that’s the increase in your per child tax credit,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin).

Ryan said a typical family of four would save $1,182 a year on their taxes.

Meanwhile, supporters are facing opposition from both sides over changes to state and local tax deductions.

The plan eliminates the deduction for state and local income taxes, and caps the deduction for state and local property taxes at $10,000.

“The federal government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers and giving high state tax folks an advantage over low state tax,” said U.S. Rep. Dave Brat (R-Virginia).

It is a tough sell for lawmakers, who say middle income families in their states rely on the deduction – and the elimination of state and local tax deductions cost them more money.

“The priorities of the Ryan-McConnell bill have been clear from the start, perpetuating a catastrophic transfer of wealth from the middle-class to corporations and the wealthy,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California)

Republicans in high-tax states like New York and New Jersey also strongly opposed the state and local deduction eliminations.

“You’re taking money from a state like New York to pay for deeper tax cuts elsewhere,” said U.S. Rep. Lee Zedlin (R-New York). “As of right now, if this bill came to the floor in its current form, I’d be a no.”

Fellow Republicans congressmen Peter King and Dan Donovan agree.

On the Democratic side, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), tweeted: “I’ll sum up the new Republican tax plan: The super-rich and big corporations get kickbacks, middle class Americans are left in the dust.”

Lauren Lyons of Business Insider said average New Yorkers could be hit particularly hard.

“We could definitely see our tax bills increasing,” Lyons said.

Another part of the plan with which many take issue is the change to mortgage interest deduction.

Current homeowners could keep the deduction, but future purchases would be capped at $500,000 instead of the $1 million limit. The deduction would also be eliminated for second homes.

“Obviously in New York, it’s hard to buy a home for that kind of money,” Lyons said.

The wealthy would benefit from the repeal of the alternative minimum tax and the phase-out of the estate tax.

Their timetable calls for passing the plan in the House by Thanksgiving.

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