It’s been six months since the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act became law. Since then, our economy has taken off. We have one million more jobs, small businesses are expanding, and wages are growing. Arizona is one of the many places in every region of this country where workers, families, and small business owners are more hopeful and confident in their future — despite zero Democrats voting to make that possible. Here’s what House Republicans from Arizona had to say about how our pro-family, pro-growth agenda is helping their home communities:
Rep. David Schweikert
“The fact of the matter is, with the tax reform, some of the regulatory changes, some of the wonderful things in the economy, Arizona is blessed. Right now, our state is doing very well.
“As we sort of talk about this, we actually had a really neat experience about a month ago. The Arizona correctional system has sort of a pilot program that has been up and running for about a year. So picture this. We are in the Ways and Means room, we are holding a hearing. And sitting on the table before us is the woman who is a friend of ours who is the Central Arizona Home Builders representative and over here is a gentleman with a very large electrical contracting company. The person sitting in the middle there with tattoos and those sorts of things is, I think, a three-time convicted felon who actually now is making $22 an hour and telling the story of how he had a substance abuse problem and had multiple times fallen back into that lifestyle. This time, he actually said: I am going to give this a try. They set up job training in the prison solely funded by the businesses, because they actually need electricians and carpenters and other things. They did the job training in the prison with a deal that if they finish this program, we will guarantee you a job. It doesn’t mean they guarantee they are going to keep you, because you still have got to show up, you have to demonstrate productivity.
“But think about a world where the economy is so vibrant that businesses are actually going and reaching into our prison communities and doing job training and actually offering employment. I guess my heartbreak is I thought there would be this sense of joy around here in Washington that we have actually passed a level that so many economists just a couple of years ago said we could never reach, this level of economic vitality, where we are actually seeing felons being able to be pulled into society’s workforce. He started, I guess, at like $13 an hour. Within a year, he was up to $22, because he was productive, and he showed up to work on time. He had one of the greatest quotes of all time. He says: I am working so many hours, I haven’t had a chance to relapse. It turns out maybe there is something to that saying about idle hands.”
“People are paying off debt and other things, so the capital stock in our country is going up. There are just really good things. Right now, we have a labor shortage, and you can see something amazing. Take a look at things like Social Security Disability. A year ago, it had only like a year before the trust fund was empty. Now we are seeing some things that it may be 5, 7, 8 years now, just substantially because we did change some rules, and we tightened up. We also have so many more people paying in and working, and many of our brothers and sisters in the country making a decision saying: ‘I could pursue a disability claim, or I could go into the workforce.’ They are going into the workforce. So there are all these tells out there right now.
“How do we keep it going? Because, it turns out, the economic vitality is a powerful thing for families, their ability to save for their retirement, for their kids’ education, for being able to pay off, let’s face it, a certain amount of debt that built up over a pretty rough decade, particularly being a state like ours with so many people who are coming to it for opportunity. As the gentleman talks to small businesses, and I talk to small businesses and even big businesses, we have this conversation: How do we keep it going, and how do we keep it going for as long as possible? Those are the policies we are chasing. “
Rep. Debbie Lesko
“Madam Speaker, the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act has ignited a fire that the American economy hasn’t seen in decades. The tax cuts and reforms passed by Congress have made a real impact on the lives of Americans across the country and to the people in Arizona’s Eighth Congressional District.
“The tax cuts have allowed small business owners like Mike and Colleen Sutter to reinvest in their employees. They have owned a small business for the last 27 years in El Mirage in my district. Due to the tax cuts package, Mike and Colleen were able to give across-the-board pay increases and bonuses to their employees, including a $3 an hour increase for hourly workers.
“This historic tax reform legislation has also had a huge impact on those living on fixed incomes. Arizona Public Service Electric Company cut its power rates by $119 million because of the tax cuts. These lower costs help seniors all over America and in my district. With a simpler and fairer tax code, businesses are finally able to hire again, more than one million new jobs have been created, and there are more jobs available than there are unemployed Americans.
“Our nation is in business again. Americans are seeing more money in their paychecks, a reduced tax burden, and a roaring economy. The tax cuts have meant real dollars going back into the pockets of small businesses and families.”
Rep. Andy Biggs
“When Arizona entered the recession era of 2008, the state tax revenue declined by about 40 percent in an 8- month period. Imagine trying to deal with that. What is happening now is the converse. We had to change our attitude. We had to create the type of business-friendly situation that lured and brought business back and provide those enticements. They are there. So what we have now is this situation localized of a business-friendly tax code, a business-friendly regulatory and then an overall attitude of: We want you to be here. We welcome new businesses.
“So, for instance, I toured Apple world data center in my district a little over a week ago. It kind of imploded, so there was no one there. What happened is, they now have 200 employees and they will expand. They will have 500 employees in high-paying, good jobs. Every one of those employees they spend money. They buy houses. They go out to eat. They go to movies. This ripples through the economy. And that is just one of the many businesses.
“Let me tell you, Maricopa County is the fastest growing county in the country; again, by a long shot. That is reflected because of the economy that is going on there. In the town that I live in, the town of Gilbert, they just announced 2,500 new jobs coming in with Deloitte. That is fantastic. When I moved to Gilbert many years ago, there were 12,000 people and cotton fields everywhere. Today, it is 250,000 people and it is just gigantic. The Arizona Free Enterprise Club has measured the reported job growth in Arizona since the tax cuts and tax reform bill came forward. We have 125,000 workers who have seen increases in salaries or bonuses. That totals $215 million. Remember, that is just the reported benefits and bonuses and raises. The direct financial benefit as a result of tax reform for Arizona is over $1 billion. We anticipate a positive impact of over $1 billion in 2018. That is fantastic. In my district, the average family of four is going to receive tax relief in excess of $2,635. That is the projection.
“I can talk about the many events that we go to, the people we talk to. I was at an event recently. I was getting ready to leave and a gentleman came up to me and said: Are you Congressman Biggs?
I said: Yes, I am.
He said: Thank you.
I said: Why is that?
He said: The tax reform. I am a bartender. I will keep $5,000 more this year. I will have a net impact of a positive $5,000.
I said: Well, do you care if I tell your story?
He said: Yes, tell my story. We want to see this happen again and again. So I have a whole list I brought tonight. I can list Philip from Mesa who said that his wife’s take-home pay has affected their household for the better. This is something they wanted specifically to mention. They don’t consider the extra income to be ‘crumbs.’ It is meaningful to people, whether you are living paycheck to paycheck or whatever. This is meaningful to them.
“Matt from Gilbert said that his increased tax refund for his business was appreciated and that he and his family will save literally thousands of dollars this year because of the tax cut laws.
“Rusty is a veteran from Mesa. He told us that the tax plan has done wonders for him and his small business. He is passing this on to his employees and they will be making more money per month and he has extra revenue in the business because other people generate this economic activity. This ripples through—it isn’t like it is a one-off—it ripples through the entire economy. So they have hired a new employee. For a small business, that is a monumental decision: Do we have enough business? Do we have enough revenue to bring in a new employee? They hired someone. The tax cuts helped.
“So I want to take just a quick second and tell you that I go out when I am in the district to various businesses and small business owners, anywhere from 5, 15, maybe 20, 25 people in their business. Every one of them that I have met with in the last year, probably, is looking to expand. They have the problem of finding qualified employees. I have talked to the Governor in Arizona. We have literally hundreds of thousands of jobs where people are trying to hire folks and we can’t get them in. This is a great thing to have, it is a great problem to have. I think we should be celebrating what is happening around this country. Particularly as a life-long Arizonan, I can tell you I am thrilled to see this happening in Arizona. We have bounced back from the 2008 recession. This message has got to get out to the American people.”