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Neal slams GOP tax law’s impacts, wants more details on Democrats' proposals

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Despite arguing that the 2017 Republican-backed tax overhaul law disproportionately benefitted wealthy Americans, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal appeared to raise questions this week about some Democrat-offered plans to address tax rate disparities.

The Springfield Democrat, who chairs the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, told The Republican’s editorial board that he agrees that the recent tax code changes advantage the rich.

Neal, however, offered that he’d like to see more details on Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren or other Democrats' plans to fix America’s tax system.

“They really haven’t been fleshed out," he said, when asked to weigh-in on his congressional colleagues' proposals. “I think we acknowledge that there is a revenue issue and, I think, disproportionately people at the top benefitted from this tax cut. But I think that we could probably, in the committee, more artfully discuss it.”

Neal, who led House Democrats' opposition to the 2017 tax overhaul bill, criticized Republicans for lowering the top tax rate from 39.6 percent to 37 percent -- an adjustment which he argued was made to offset changes to the state and local tax deduction.

He further took issue with the legislation’s business tax changes, arguing that while sponsors said the corporate rate reduction and foreign tax rate adjustment would result in increased investments and more money being brought back from overseas, there’s little evidence to show that either has happened.

“It’s hard to argue that the wealthy in America aren’t doing well. They’re doing really well -- and it means more concentrated wealth. ... What I think happened was, the top caught the cut and the shareholders got the money,” he said.

Warren, a 2020 White House contender, recently unveiled her “ultra-millionaire tax plan,” which would impose a 2 percent wealth tax on those with at least $50 million in net worth and a 3 percent tax on those worth above $1 billion.

Ocasio-Cortez, meanwhile, has proposed setting an income tax rate of up to 70 percent on the wealthiest Americans to support her plan to lower carbon emissions.

Trump signed the $1.5 trillion GOP tax overhaul bill into law in late 2017, capping his and the Republican-controlled Congress' first major legislative victory.

The “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act," which included sweeping changes to the individual and corporate tax structure, marked the largest change to the American tax code in 30 years.

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