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Senator Lankford Highlights Positive Impact of Federal Tax Reform in OK

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today spoke on the Senate floor ahead of Tax Day next week about some of the positive news and real stories from Oklahomans about their experience filing their taxes this year. Lankford specifically offered examples shared with our office from Oklahomans. This year is the first opportunity to see the effects of tax reform on Oklahomans, and Lankford reflected on the positive economic impacts tax reform has had for our state and nation. Lankford supported the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act when it passed the Senate in December 2016.

Excerpts

On national media gloom about the tax reports (Starts at 00:40)

This story, in particular, the headline was, ‘This Is Going to Wipe Us Out,’ in reference to the new tax law. When you read through the story and find out this is who they say is going to get wiped out, here is their illustration of the person: ‘a person moving from a $400,000 house this past year to one valued at $1.1 million concedes he has a first-world problem of his taxes going up, but he says owing more in taxes is a little disheartening as he moves from a $400,000 house to a $1.1 million home.’ Now, again, I’m excited for him in his home. I’m sure that it’s beautiful. But that was their illustration of who is going to get hard hit by the tax changes on it. This article from a national source said, ‘Is a Tax Refund Ahead For You in 2019? Some Taxpayers Received a Tax Bill Instead.’ You go into the middle of the story and they make this one little note, ‘only about five percent of taxpayers are expected to pay more under the new law.’ Or, in other words, 95 percent of Americans, even in this story that’s a negative story about the taxes, they hide the simple fact that 95 percent of Americans will pay the same or less. The vast majority of those will pay less in their taxes for the next year.

On the economic results of the tax cuts (Starts at 04:10)

Well, here is what happened. Our GDP grew at three percent a year. A dramatic increase from what we’ve had in the past. Inflation-adjusted business investment went up seven percent just since the tax cut. Two-hundred and fifteen thousand new jobs have started, on average, every month since the tax cut change happened—215,000. Those are very strong numbers across the country. Unemployment has gone to 3.9 percent since the enactment of the tax reform. Beginning in April of last year, the number of job openings in the national economy has exceeded the number of unemployed Americans, something that’s not been recorded prior to April since records have been kept. 

On real examples of the success of tax reform from Oklahomans (Starts at 07:15)

Well, I started asking some of my team in Oklahoma, just ask people around. When you’re traveling around the state and when you’re visiting people just ask them how their taxes have gone. What’s happened because people are filing now, just find out what is going on. One of the dry cleaners in Enid let our team know that he is doing better in his small-business taxes this year, and he’s actually going to be able to put a down payment now on some brand-new equipment at his dry-cleaner in Enid. When another one that we talked to—he’s in his early 30s, married, he and his wife both work–they said that they saved enough on their taxes this year from last year they’re going to start paying off some of their student loans and start paying down faster their car loan. We spoke to one of the gentlemen who’s also in his late thirties. They have one child who was born this past year. They said they have saved enough in their taxes from the previous year that they are going to be able to take care of some health care costs that they had, and they are going to start setting aside some money to allow his wife to start a Roth IRA account, starting their savings for their retirement in their thirties. Where you should start saving for your retirement, they are able to do this year because of the change in the tax cut.

When another gentleman that we talked to that works in Oklahoma City, he reported that his withholding changes that happened that he is now actually in — he was in the 25 percent tax bracket that now has moved to the 22 percent tax bracket, and he is using his savings to be able to take care of some of the issues that he had in his own personal debt. We have a married couple in Davis, Oklahoma, down in south-central Oklahoma. Their income actually went up $4,000 this last year. When they finished all their tax payments, their tax actually decreased by $700 from one year to the next even though their income went up. Another couple down the street from Davis in Sulfur, Oklahoma, they own a small farm. Their income went up $7,000 last year from the previous year, and they were panicked about what would happen on their taxes. Well, their taxes actually decreased $1,400 from the year before. We have a police officer in Norman, Oklahoma, just south of Oklahoma City. He and his family, after they finished filing all of their taxes, he said this, ‘I now bring home more in my check every two weeks because of the change in the tax code. It’s making things so much simpler for us to be able to make ends meet.’

On the five percent of individuals whose taxes did not decrease (Starts at 11:35)

This is what tax reform looks like. Some of my colleagues try to spend all of their time saying tax reform is all about big corporations and Wall Street. Interestingly enough, most of the high-income folks in my state have said, actually, their taxes went up a little bit this year, not down. They are part of that five percent of Americans that didn’t end up with a tax change. But for the vast majority of Americans who are working and putting ends together and taking care of their family in my state and in other states, they are finding that tax reform is not some theory to them. It was a real help to their family in paying off debt, starting retirement, taking care of medical costs, taking care of their family, and getting going on with life. 

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