Unemployment and utility rates are decreasing, while wages and consumer confidence are increasing — these are all positive signs of our booming economy. But you don’t have to take our word for it!
From opportunity zones to wage increases, representatives from Kansas shared what tax reform, regulatory relief, and this renewed optimism mean for their communities and the people they represent.
REP. LYNN JENKINS
“Mr. Speaker, I come to the floor this evening to discuss the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. As a CPA, I knew that reforming our broken tax code would make us competitive in a global economy and would lead us to jobs and prosperity for the American people. I saw firsthand the old tax code was a nightmare to comply with, adding excessive time for companies and individuals alike to file.”
“The rhetoric around here and in the press can get out of hand at times, so let’s take a look back at some of the biggest claims about the bill and what the reality is. One of the most common claims I have heard as a representative from Kansas was that this act was simply the Kansas tax plan on steroids, but that was never the case. Where Kansas eliminated income taxes on certain businesses, the federal act simply reduced taxes on all businesses at a comparable rate to other businesses. With the new federal rates, all businesses, regardless of size, continue to pay federal income taxes, just at a lower rate. In fact, the truth is, instead of breaking the bank, thanks to this bill, the state of Kansas is seeing new revenue to the tune of nearly $140 million or more a year.
“Mr. Speaker, another one of the most egregious claims was the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act would raise taxes on the middle class. Not only was this claim debunked by fact checkers, here is what the reality is in my district. A typical family of four in my district is seeing a federal income tax cut of just over $2,200. This is on top of bonuses paid and utility companies, like Westar Energy and Kansas City Power and Light Company, announcing they would lower utility rates as a result of this tax reform.
“Lastly, Mr. Speaker, there were claims made that companies would keep the benefits of tax reform and not use it to grow jobs or wages. I would like to share with you an example from my district, which sets the record straight on this notion. The Lawrence Paper Company, which employs hundreds of workers across three locations in Kansas and Nebraska, has recently committed to increasing their post-tax reform investment to $13 million in equipment. The company’s president attributes this increased investment as a direct result of the lower taxes and favorable business climate generated by the recently enacted tax reform. Couple that fact with the same company’s employees receiving hundreds of large bonuses that went toward recovering holiday expenses, paying down bills, or reinvesting in their local community, and my point is even more clear.
“Mr. Speaker, this legislation is putting more money in Kansans’ pockets and creating a system that allows our businesses to compete in a global marketplace. I could not be more pleased that Kansans and Kansas businesses are doing their part to get my state and the national economy moving again.”
REP. RON ESTES
“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to discuss how the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act is helping families and businesses in my home state of Kansas and throughout our country. Since Republicans in Congress and the President enacted tax reform, 400 companies have announced $4 billion in bonuses and investments, impacting four million workers.
“In my community, Spirit AeroSystems announced new investments in training and technology. Fidelity Bank announced $1,500 bonuses for its 400 Wichita area employees. Cox Communications announced up to $2,000 bonuses for its 900 area employees.
“Recently, small business owner Bob Aldrich of railroad car parts supplier, Wichita Railway Services, gave his employees $3,000 to $6,000 bonuses, the largest in the country, thanks to the new law.
“In addition to the bonuses and the new jobs being created, 90 percent of Americans began seeing more monthly take-home pay in February. For Kansans, that meant a middle class family of four will see a tax cut of nearly $2,300. These numbers are not crumbs. No, they are not crumbs at all for millions of families across the country.
“And despite those doomsday predictions, the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act is already boosting our economy. Just last week, the unemployment rate fell again to 3.8 percent, the lowest in 18 years. And when families and businesses file next year under the new tax code, hardworking Americans will keep even more of their money.
“In fact, Wichita tax accountant Archie Macias analyzed his clients’ 2017 tax returns and found that approximately 95 percent of his clients will pay less in taxes next year due to the new law. These numbers are staggering. But behind all of these statistics are people. Whether it is a small general aviation parts manufacturer in Newton or a wheat farmer in Pratt, Kansans from all backgrounds and in all sectors are seeing growth in our economy once again. Republicans are delivering on our promise to cut taxes and cut regulations, and I look forward to continuing our pro-growth agenda to help American workers and their families.
REP. ROGER MARSHALL
“Mr. Speaker, this Congress and this president made pro-growth policies a top priority since day one. My colleagues and I should be very proud that due in part to the policies of this Republican Congress, consumer confidence is at an all-time high, businesses are optimistic, and our economy is booming. Even The New York Times has run out of words to explain and describe how great this economy is.
“As families across Kansas receive an average tax break of more than $2,000 a year, as well as seeing record wage growth and bonuses, I see the excitement growing firsthand throughout my district. However, today in particular, I want to highlight one specific aspect of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act: Federal Opportunity Zones, which are designed to promote economic development and job creation in communities throughout the country. This is where government meets private sector business in a very positive way.
“The Treasury Department recently selected 22 opportunity zones in 17 different counties across the First District of Kansas. When a tract is deemed an opportunity zone, it allows taxpayers to defer capital gains tax if they invest and prioritize local projects. This is a win-win scenario for both investors and communities that will spur growth and expansion.
“My good friend, Ashley Hutchinson, in Cloud County, Kansas, said her community hopes to use these opportunity zones to recruit new businesses to areas in counties like hers that are in great need of investment incentives. In Manhattan, Kansas, home of the Kansas State University Wildcats, the local Chamber is using these opportunity zone programs to revitalize and enhance Aggieville, a beloved and historic social district very near and dear to my heart. In southwest Kansas, municipalities are using the program to spur job growth by updating existing buildings for new retail and commercial space, as well as attracting housing developments for the region’s growing workforce. In Emporia, Kansas, expansion of the growing pet industry is being allowed by these opportunity zones as well.
“Across my district, community leaders and economic development departments are excited by the new opportunities these zones will deliver to their communities. As the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act continues to help existing businesses grow and expand, opportunities are starting to rise across the country. In Kansas, we are excited about what is to come. As a congressman, I am often asked: What are you doing in Congress? What is this Congress doing to help save rural America? These Federal Opportunity Zones as well as the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act are one such example.”