Tax reform delivers for Southwest Floridians
The Republican tax reform law, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed in December 2017 has had a positive impact on our Southwest Florida community. In a victory for low- and middle-income families, wages are rising, taxpayers are keeping more of their paychecks, and many businesses are increasing investment across the country, leading to more jobs and bonuses for employees.
This year, middle-income families in Southwest Florida are taking home more of their hard-earned wages. An average family of four in Congressional District 19 will take home an additional average of $1,918 per year, while an individual will take home an average of $1,336 more per year. Additionally, the child tax credit was doubled to $2,000 per child, impacting the over 43,000 taxpayers who claim the credit in Florida's 19th Congressional District.
Contrary to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's assertion, these are not "crumbs" for American families. These increases in take-home pay afford Americans more choices on how to spend their money, such as whether to take their family on a dream vacation, to save more for their children's future college education, or for their own retirement.
Tax reform has encouraged numerous businesses to raise wages and award bonuses. So far, over four million American workers have reaped these benefits. Companies such as Home Depot, Walmart, CVS, and Costco, which employ hundreds across Lee and Collier counties, have announced wage increases or bonuses. Further, a reduction in tax for small business owners will positively impact over 62,000 taxpayers in our congressional district alone.
Utility rates have also gone down in parts of Florida thanks to tax reform. For example, Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy Florida, and Tampa Electric have announced that, due to tax savings, they will not charge customers for power restoration in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. This move alone will save customers an average of over $180.
Lower corporate rates will also benefit American families as they will provide a much-needed boost to American competitiveness and economic growth. Lower taxes stimulate investment by America's companies, which in turn expands the economy and creates more job opportunities. Southwest Florida is already one of the fastest growing job markets in the country, and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will only increase our potential. Our retirees will finally have some decent returns on their retirement funds as the bonds and securities of these companies perform better and the financial repression of negative interest rates goes away.
For the first time since the 1980s, Washington has delivered large-scale tax reform for hardworking Americans, and the effects of this reform will have a positive impact on our Southwest Florida community for years to come.
Francis Rooney is the U.S. Representative for Florida's 19th congressional district. He is the Vice-Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and serves on the Committee on Education and the Workforce. He previously served as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See under President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2008.