On Thursday, the House passed its version of the Republican tax reform bill, or Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which aims to lower small business and corporate taxes, as well as those for middle income Americans. This will put more money back into American workers’ pockets, and incentivize companies to bring jobs and production back to the United States. However, in their determination to accomplish these necessary reforms, some veterans worry that important programs may be falling by the wayside.
Housing Programs at Risk?
One of the provisions raising alarm bells among our nation’s veterans would remove the tax-exempt status of the state-issued bonds used to fund affordable housing programs for veterans in need. The program was established in 1922 after 71% of the electorate voted for it, and since then has helped over 420,000 veterans, particularly those who are disabled, get loans for housing. Ideally, these complicated tax expenditures, once eliminated, will be replaced by suitable government programs.
Work Opportunity Tax Credit Under Fire
A second issue of concern among veterans’ groups like Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion is the removal, on page 254 of the proposal, of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which an assistant director at the American Legion told Politico last week “definitely incentivizes employers to hire veterans,” as well as individuals with disabilities. Vets are joined by disability rights groups as well as housing and homeless assistance organizations in questioning the necessity of this particular cut.
Corporate Tax Breaks and Repatriation Will Create Jobs
One positive aspect of the tax reform bill is that it cuts corporate and small-business tax rates, and allows a one-time repatriation of overseas corporate profits, which many conservatives, especially those in high-tax western states like Idaho are eager to see bring money and jobs back to the US. These tax cuts are what Idaho’s conservatives are looking forward to, as they will spur economic growth and encourage companies to bring production back to American soil, and hire hard-working veterans.
Liberal critics say that repatriation could harm veterans, like those who gathered last year to protest Nabisco/Mondelez’s move “to export production of its iconic Oreo brand to Mexico”. Hundreds of jobs were lost, and a large percentage were veterans, according to the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union. Republicans, however, will believe that when they see it.