Senator Lankford Joins Colleagues on Senate Floor to Tout Benefits of Tax Reform

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WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today spoke on the Senate floor, along with his Senate colleagues, in support of efforts to reform the US federal tax code for the first time in 30-years. Lankford continues to advocate for tax reform that spurs economic growth, simplifies the overcomplicated tax code, and reduces the national debt.

Lankford also joined MSNBC Morning Joe today to discuss the Senate’s tax reform proposal and the repeal of the Obamacare tax mandate.  


Mr. President, our economy is stuck. We’ve had between 1.4 percent and 1.9 percent growth over the last ten years. Compare that to the ten-year cycles before that over and over again all the way back to the Great Depression. Every year in a ten-year block, every group of that was three percent or more growth. We’ve had half the growth in our economy in the last ten years then we’ve had in any ten-year time period going all the way back to the Great Depression. We’ve got to be able to deal with that. I hear people over and over again say the regulations are choking out our business. It’s driving up the cost of products for consumers. But, our tax code is full of loopholes, full of confusion, it’s complicated. Deductions, when I go through to fill out my individual taxes, seem like there are deductions for everybody else but me. And people want to get that fixed. And quite frankly, no one likes paying taxes and everyone wants to make sure whatever taxes they pay are spent efficiently and are as low as possible. I can’t tell them that, right now, because their spending is not on track and it’s not efficient. And, I can also not tell them it’s as low as possible. We need to fix that. 

The tax reform that we have in discussion in the Senate right now deals with some very basic things, beginning with more take-home pay for individuals. You can either be paid more by an employer or you can be taxed less by the government. Either one of those increases the take-home pay. This solves the tax-less by the government so that individuals can have more take-home pay—around 100 bucks a month. That’s serious money for most Oklahomans… The way that happens, it starts with the standard deduction that doubles. It is $24,000. To say flat you would make between zero and $24,000 as a family and you wouldn’t have any tax on the first $24,000 at all. That’s a great help. So your tax doesn’t even begin until after $24,000 at all. You’d be in that zero percent bracket. We double the child tax credit for families that are raising kids, it is exceptionally helpful to them to have a larger tax credit. 

Then we’d take out the individual mandate of Obamacare. We’ve already had folks that have said, what does Obamacare have to do with tax policy? Well, let me it will you very simply. The individual mandate is a tax. That’s what the Supreme Court labeled it as. That’s what individuals understand it to be. If you don’t buy the type of insurance that Washington, DC, approves, you may buy some different insurance, but if it is not the one that Washington, DC, approves, you get an additional tax penalty on your tax. Who pays for that? In Oklahoma, 81 percent of the people who paid the individual mandate tax penalty make $50,000 or less a year. It is a tax directly at the middle class. I think that is unfair. We want to remove that tax penalty away from the middle class and to say, they don’t have that penalty and they’re allowed to be able to buy insurance that they can actually afford. 

What does this mean for jobs? Well, if small businesses have a better tax code in their pass-through, they are able to hire additional people. That’s more jobs. Based on where our economy is currently growing, right now, the unemployment rate has continued to drop over the last several years. At the spot they’re at right now, that means there is more competition. There’s more hiring, more people have to compete for those jobs. That means employers have to pay a little bit more money to get the people to be able to do it. That raises wages for people all around the country and have additional people that are not working now actually back to working. More people working are actually paying taxes. And it pays for itself. Getting a growing economy going is essential to us. And the way that you do that is you take care of the tax code for small businesses and you take care of the tax code for corporate businesses. I’ve had folks that have said to me if you drop the corporate rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, what does that really do?  Well, it allows the big companies as well as the small companies to hire more people, to engage in more investment, to build more factories, to buy more machinery. 

That’s what it allows them to be able to do, to grow their business. But on an international stage, right now, our tax code is 35 percent. If our tax code is at 35 percent, compare that to other countries that are somewhere around 22, 23, 24 percent, some of them less than that. Let me make it this simple. If you’re going online to buy a shirt and you can see that shirt for $20 on one website or $35 on another website, where do you buy the shirt? Probably from the one that is $20. If you’re starting a business or founding a business and you go in one spot where the tax rate is 20 percent or another spot where it’s 35 percent, guess where they found the business? Where it’s lower. We’re the higher right rate now. If we don’t fix that, businesses are going to continue to move overseas. And we can make fun of them in the news, we can yell at them and tell them they’re un-American. 

They’re going to continue to move where they pay less, exactly like every American does with their online shopping. That’s fixable. In the middle of all this, we’ve got to deal with debt and deficit. We can’t ignore that reality. And one of the things that I’m still going through in the proposal that we’re working through right now are things that are unrealistic in the proposal. Because at the end of the day, we have to get the economy growing again, but we’ve got to deal with half a trillion dollars in overspending from this government right now. We can do both. We’ve got to be able to do both. I am encouraging this body to take seriously a proposal to be able to deal with how we get our economy going again. Let’s figure out how to get it done and then let’s actually solve this for the American people.