Tax reform is among the issues that are “front and center” on Capitol Hill, according to U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., who was in Hays earlier this week for several events. Marshall attended a roundtable discussion hosted by the Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development and a regional Farm Bureau meeting.
Marshall praised a proposal — pushed by U.S. President Donald Trump — for overhauling the tax code that would, in part, make it possible for citizens to file their taxes through a prepared postcard and mail it to the IRS. Other components would include repealing the death tax and allowing the first $12,000 of individual income and $24,000 of combined income for families to be tax-free.
“We want it to be simpler,” Marshall said. “No. 2, we want to bring relief to middle-income and low-income America. If you are in a 10-percent tax bracket, we’re going to lower you to zero. If you’re in a 15-percent tax bracket, we would lower you to 12, and we’re going to double your deduction as a family from $12,000 to $24,000.”
The nation’s seven tax brackets would be consolidated into three brackets of 12 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent. An additional top rate might apply to the highest-income taxpayers.
The proposal also seeks to reduce the tax burden on small businesses and LLCs by limiting the maximum tax rate to 25-percent for some small businesses. More information about this proposal can be found at fairandsimple.gop.
Attempts to change a federal health care bill also have been a hotly contested issue this legislative session. Marshall, who previously worked as a physician in Great Bend, voted in favor of the proposed American Health Care Act that passed the House before stalling.
Marshall said he believes changes need to be made that specifically address the rising costs of health care services.
“So how do you drive the cost of healthcare down? I think No. 1 is through innovation. … We need government to get out of the way. Government impedes innovation by piling on more and more regulations,” Marshall said. “I think there are some great solutions out there like more transparency, so hospitals, physicians, pharmacies being more transparent with their prices and their outcomes, and let the consumer decide where they want to go.”
Marshall said he also favors expanding the availability of healthcare savings accounts.
Immigration reform is another hot topic, and Marshall was quick to say he supports the young dreamers affected by the elimination of the DACA program. He said he appreciates Trump giving Congress more time to resolve the issue, and said he thinks action on this issue will be a high priority.
“It’s something that’s very near and dear to my heart. These DACA kids are classmates of my children. I’ve raised four kids in Great Bend, Kan.,” Marshall said. “These DACA kids are playing in the band, they’re on the football team. They’re great contributing members. Their families are working hard; they want to see the American dream. And certainly the dreamer kids, they’re here through no fault of their own. They need a hand up, and I think we need to treat them right.”