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Rodney Davis, GOP Pivot To Tax Reform

Charlie Schlenker
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, talks with owner Vicki Tilton during a tour of the small business Fox and Hounds in Bloomington.

Following the failure of the House and Senate to agree on a mechanism to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Republicans have moved on to an overhaul of the tax code.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis said Tuesday it's time for a bold and bipartisan approach to tax reform. Speaking to reporters in Bloomington, the Taylorville Republican said he agrees with Democrats that changes in the tax code should end up revenue neutral, though it won't be easy to do that.

"That's, I think, the best plan of action. But remember when we go through this debate every plan that's taken away or every proposal that's put back in is going to have a cause and an effect, and a cost," said Davis.

Davis said he wants to close corporate tax loopholes and then lower the tax rate for businesses and individuals.

He said he hopes the plan will allow nine out of 10 Americans to avoid itemizing.
Democrats oppose dropping the tax rate on investments saying it disproportionately helps the wealthy. But Davis said anything that stimulates the economy and encourages savings is a good thing for the country.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting the Trump administration tax plan would actually increase taxes on people in the $100,000 to $300,000 income range. Davis said he's not set on that provision.

"The administration has their ideas. And what we're doing this month is putting out our ideas in the House. Our ideas are not going to completely math up with their ideas at all," said Davis.

Democrats such as Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin of Illinois said they would like any tax reform plan to come through committee in regular order of business. Davis said that's a cynical ploy because Democrats have used reconciliation on punitive antibusiness bills.

He urged Democrats to come to the table and negotiate when the bill is drafted.

The GOP repeal of Obamacare failed, in part, because some Republicans wanted even deeper cuts to government support of healthcare than the bill provided, and GOP members felt it went to far. Republicans tend to agree more with each other on the economic virtues of reducing taxes. But, Davis said if anyone thinks a tax bill will be easier to pass than healthcare, they are sorely mistaken. He said it is a very heavy lift indeed and that is why it hasn't been done in a comprehensive way for more than three decades.

You can also listen to Davis' full interview as it aired on GLT's Sound Ideas:

GLT's full interview with Rep. Rodney Davis.

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WGLT News Director Charlie Schlenker grew up in Rock Island and graduated from Augustana College. He has spent more than three decades in radio.