Senator Portman praised Senate passage the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, landmark tax reforms focused on helping middle-class families and creating more jobs with better wages.  After the vote, Portman said:

“After decades of talk and years of planning, the Senate today passed landmark reforms that will provide tax relief for middle-class families, create more jobs, and increase wages for American workers.”

Portman worked throughout the process to develop and help improve the bill, including adding several amendments during consideration by the Senate Finance Committee.  Here’s a quick rundown on how Portman worked to improve the Senate tax bill:

  • Pushing for Middle-Class Tax Cuts.  Throughout this debate, Portman has been consistently focused on ensuring that the middle class get a significant tax cut, and that the progressivity of the code is at least maintained if not made more progressive.  In particular, he focused on lowering tax rates and expanding the child tax credit.  All told, the independent Tax Foundation estimates save the typical Ohio family $2,375 annually.
  • Expanding Tax Relief for Small Businesses.  Reforms to the business tax code are an essential component of this bill, especially lowering rates for small businesses, which Portman played a key role in developing.  These pro-growth reforms will grow our economy, create more jobs, and make America more competitive with our foreign counterparts.  According to the Tax Foundation, the Senate bill would help create nearly one million new American jobs, including more than 35,000 in Ohio.  The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) endorsed the Senate bill.
  • Leveling the Playing Field for American Companies & Workers.  Portman’s bipartisan work on international tax reform is a key component of the Senate tax reform bill.  In 2015, he chaired a bipartisan working group on international tax reform with Senator Chuck Schumer, now Minority Leader.  Together they developed a bipartisan framework to reform the international tax code, transition from a worldwide to a territorial tax system, and give American companies a level playing field with their foreign competitors.  The gist of that framework is now part of this Senate bill.  Details about this 2015 effort can be found here.
  • Preserving Private Activity Bonds (PABs).  In the Senate bill, Portman helped preserve private activity bonds, which are an essential source of funding for important infrastructure and community redevelopment projects across Ohio.  The House bill eliminated PABs.
  • Preserving the Historic Tax Credit (HTC).  Portman is a strong supporter of the HTC and worked with Senator Cassidy to restore the current-law 20 percent credit level after the House eliminated it entirely and earlier drafts of the Senate bill reduced it to 10 percent.  The HTC encourages private investment in the rehabilitation of historic buildings.  It has been used to preserve numerous historic Ohio buildings, including Cincinnati’s recently rehabilitated iconic Music Hall.
  • Preserving the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC).  While the House eliminated the New Markets Tax Credit, Portman led the effort in the Senate to preserve it.  The NMTC helps economically distressed communities attract private capital for community redevelopment purposes, and Cincinnati has been a significant beneficiary.  Earlier this year, Portman visited the Nehemiah Manufacturing Company, which is using the NMTC to expand and provide meaningful employment opportunities to ex-offenders re-entering society.
  • Preserving the Work Opportunity Tax Credit.  Portman led the effort to preserve the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which provides employers with a tax credit for hiring and retaining veterans, ex-felons, disabled individuals, summer youth employees, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and Supplemental Security Income recipients. A 2015 Portman amendment added a $2,400 credit for first year wages paid to the long-term unemployed.  The House bill eliminated the tax credit.
  • Helping Families Combat Unfair Tax on Student Loans.  The Senate tax bill includes Portman’s bipartisan Stop Taxing Death and Disability Actlegislation to eliminate a tax penalty levied on student loans forgiven for families after their child develops a permanent disability or dies.
  • Promoting the Craft Beverage Industry in Ohio.  The Senate bill includes the bipartisan Craft Beverage Modernization & Tax Reform Act, legislation cosponsored by Portman that would provide excise tax relief to the growing craft beverage industry, helping these entrepreneurs reinvest more in their businesses and our communities. Ohio is number four in the country in craft beer production, and supports 15,000 jobs in the state.
  • Preserving Worker Retirement Security.  The Senate bill includes a Portman amendment to protect small startup businesses’ ability to utilize nonqualified deferred compensation programs for millions of employees and retirees; remove a provision that would have subjected 457 plan participants like Ohio police and firefighters to a harmful 10 percent early distribution tax; and preserve the ability of all 401(k) participants to make catch-up contributions after age 50. Portman also worked with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) to preserve additional catch-up contributions available to 457 and 403(b) plans, including clergy in church pension plans. These amendments preserved retirement security incentives with a proven track record of success.
  • Easing the Burden of High Medical Expenses.  The Senate bill includes changes from Portman’s Seniors Tax Hike Prevention Act which would allow seniors to deduct a greater share of their medical costs. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, all taxpayers at any age may take advantage of this expanded deduction.