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Will tax reform work?

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Plans rife with complexities

I was hoping Republicans would wise up and focus on helping regular folks with their tax proposals. They have not.

Their proposed plans will massively increase the complexity of the tax code. Are you an independent contractor? If so, do you provide "professional services" to your clients? Not sure what that means? You better figure it out, because that vague description could be the difference between getting taxed at 40 percent and getting taxed at 25 percent. 

These tax plans are rife with these kind of complexities. It's outrageous, especially considering it will cost us all $1.5 trillion dollars over the next 10 years. We deserve better.

Brandon Herrmann, Dallas

He with the most gold ... 

Re: "Proposals tilt to wealthy — A look at the differences between House, Senate versions," Nov. 12 Business story.

I guess that headline was supposed to be attention grabbing, but having eliminated limits on soft money campaign financing, I believe we have settled into a happy plutocracy where the "Golden Rule" triumphs (he with the most gold, rules). 

My reasoning for that statement is how this "new improved tax plan" slashes the corporate rate, so tax lawyers will move more upper-class income to 20 percent corporate rates; reduces the business "pass through" rate by about 50 percent; repeals the estate tax for family estates over $11 million; oh, and is totally silent on capital gains taxes. As Warren Buffet stated in 2013, "I'll probably be the lowest paying taxpayer in the office." 

These new tax proposals will tilt that imbalance further. Congress remembered the poor! These tax cuts will partially be paid by reductions to the Medicaid budget and other social safety nets. And many itemized deductions for the middle class, like for student loan interest, state income or property taxes will be eliminated. 

In summary, the richer you are, the greater the benefits of this "new improved tax plan."

Hugh Resnick, Dallas/The Cedars

Rules are different for the rich

Back when Barack Obama was president, Republicans complained about the deficit. The question was always, "How are we going to pay for it?" 

But now we have a Republican president who wants a huge tax cut for the rich that will raise the deficit but no one is talking about the deficit anymore. When it comes to the super rich getting what they want,  the rules are different.

Marc Perkel, Gilroy, Calif.

Stop writing about nothing

The media are writing a lot of articles on the Republican income tax plan. There is no Republican tax plan. There is a House outline and there is a Senate outline. Those outlines have to be reconciled via joint committees, then voted on again by both houses and signed by the president.

Do us all a favor and stop writing about nothing. Save a few trees. When there is an actual tax law, write about it.

Martin Waller, Garland

Trump voters, you did this

Satisfied, Trump voters? The proposed tax cuts give Trump and millionaires zillions of dollars to lavish on themselves. No more alternative minimum tax (AMT) or estate tax, they keep charitable deductions and their sneaky "pass through" businesses.

Corporations get a rate cut from 35 percent to 20 percent, which will probably be  diverted to CEOs and stockholders, not into hiring or other basic employee benefits. Why should they? With record profits by overworking their current serfs (employees), what reason could they have for hiring more? 

Small business is not forgotten. Make a good living around a quarter of a million? You get to pay a 35 percent tax rate.

For what's left of the middle class, a pittance in tax cuts that will be offset by loss of deductions such as: no state income tax or sales tax credits, no medical or college deductions. Many charitable deductions fade away too. And five years down the road, another surprise awaits as even more deductions head to oblivion. 

The working poor get nothing to allow them to at least live a decent life. Not in hegemonic USA.
Well done, uninformed voters, you elected a buffoon, and now we all pay the price.

Chuck Elkins, Plano

Where are the jobs?

Please explain how the proposed "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" creates jobs. I was always taught that increased demand created jobs. The small amount that I would benefit would more than likely go toward increasing my savings or reducing my debt. I can foresee corporate executives giving themselves a pay raise, but create a job? C'mon, man!

Gerald Caldwell, Sachse

Tax increases for the middle

It appears that the new proposals are a tax on a portion of the middle class. I used the information in The Dallas Morning News to compare the tax I paid under the rules in 2016 and the amount I would have paid based on the House proposal. 

My tax rate in 2016 was 25 percent of my taxable income, but the amount I was instructed to subtract from the 25 percent reduced the tax to 18.25 percent. The House proposal would continue my tax rate at 25 percent. It is not known if there will be a comparable reduction from the 25 percent as there was in 2016 or if the rate will be a flat 25 percent of taxable income. Assuming that the tax will be a flat 25 percent of taxable income, I will experience a tax increase of approximately 6.75 percent. If property taxes and charitable contribution deductions are allowed, the tax will be reduced, but I will still have a substantial tax increase.

Harold Rayburn Hill, Rockwall

Mean-spirited on medical expenses

The Trump tax proposal would eliminate the itemized deduction for medical expenses now set at over 7 1/2 percent of adjusted gross income. This should be lowered, not eliminated. I am 90 and can't walk, and my medical expenses (helpers and equipment) are tremendous. Talk about mean-spirited! 

Herman Morris, Plano

This is middle-class fraud

The wealthy are making it big with the proposed tax plan. Their top tax rate lowers from 39.6 to 35; the estate tax (the Republicans call it the death tax), which taxes estates in excess of $5 million, goes away, as does the alternative minimum tax which calculates a higher taxable income by adding back preferences like depletion allowances. 

This tax bill will never pass. It is the biggest middle-class fraud that has been proposed in the past 50 years!

Jerry Pittman, Fort Davis

A hit on higher education 

In thanking his supporters following the Nevada caucuses, candidate Donald Trump announced, "I love the poorly educated." And now it's starting to look like increasing the size of that constituency has become one of the goals of tax reform.

Lawmakers assert that the code's various tax benefits related to education are too complex and need to be streamlined. But instead of providing the same amount of education incentives, or increasing them, their streamlined version would make major cuts.

The result is an estimated tax revenue increase of about $65 billion over 10 years, representing a big tax hike for many working families. The bill would make it harder for many families to afford college. For example, it would reduce the choice of credits and tax-favored savings options, tax most employer-provided education benefits, end the deduction for student loan interest and reduce the incentive for employers to provide educational benefits.

Republicans claim that this tax bill is about creating jobs. But today's good jobs and the jobs of the future are likely to require more education, not less. And by adding an estimated $1.5 trillion of deficits over 10 years, this bill would make future cuts in federal funding for education more likely. Moreover, by disallowing the federal tax deduction for most state and local taxes, it would make it harder for state and local governments to raise taxes to pay for better education.

David J. Roberts, Chicago, associate professor at DePaul University

Disabled veteran does the math

As a disabled veteran, baby boomer retiree and member of the middle class, I've taken great interest in the tax proposals of the current Congress. It's dawned on me that the Republicans there really don't like people like me. As a boomer, my medical tax deductions were over $ 14,000 last year. The property tax deduction without exemptions would have been over $6,000. If I lived in states like New York and California, they would have been even higher. They also have state income tax. Some states also tax pensions and/or Social Security. 

Although my VA disability compensation is nontaxable, it is added back in for the state sales tax deduction. Every little bit helps. The deductions I took last year will not be balanced by a doubling of the personal exemption and a five-year $300 tax credit that the bill would provide. I don't see my expenses going down over the next 10 years, if I make it that far. Also I don't believe the trickle-down idea from the corporate tax reduction will get down to the middle class. A similar theory in the Reagan years didn't work either.

Michael P. Pumilia, Fort Worth