Senator Scott talks tax reform at Darlington Chamber event
By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org
U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R – South Carolina) visited with constituents at the Greater Darlington Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, November 21 and talked about infrastructure improvements, tax reform, and the great Tigers vs Gamecocks football conflict.
The senator chatted with guests at an informal morning drop-in, and answered questions from the audience. Darlington resident Lou Kirchen asked about plans to repair South Carolina’s aging infrastructure, namely the state’s many ragged roads and bridges.
Scott replied that it takes about $50 billion each year for the federal government to maintain its roads from coast to coast, and the taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel only yield about $36 billion in revenues. He said that plans are underway to bring in other monies from the private sector and from state and local sources, as well as talks about financing projects through bonds and streamlining the planning and approval process for new roads.
“The President’s goal is to bring a trillion dollars worth of revenue into a bucket over a long period of time so that we can address some of the crumbling infrastructure that we have around the country,” said Scott, adding that a “real conversation” about how to reach that $1 trillion mark should occur by March of 2018.
Regarding the federal tax reform bill currently under review by a Senate budget committee, Scott said the bill would simplify the filing process, lower every bracket on the individual tax code, and double the standard deduction from $6,000 (for an individual) to $12,000.
“And for a single mom – like mine, when I was a kid, she raised two boys – her standard deduction goes from $9,000 to $18,000,” Scott explained. “Ninety-five percent or so of Americans will not have to itemize anymore. You’ll be able to use standard deductions to file your taxes.”
Scott went on to say that the bill would allow small businesses to write off 17.4 percent of qualified business income.
“That would give you less taxes to pay and more money to invest in your employees and your purchases, and hopefully would mean you’re more profitable,” said Scott.
The senator also discussed the “Investing in Opportunities Act,” which he co-sponsored as part of the tax reform package. This act, Scott said, would incentivize businesses to make long-term investments in communities with high unemployment rates by deferring their capital gains tax for up to seven years.
Asked by Darlington Mayor Pro Tem Coleman Cannon if anyone present would be alive to see these tax reforms realized, Scott replied that he is hopeful the bill could be passed, signed by President Trump, and in effect (for individuals and small businesses) by January of 2018 – but he observed that the federal government has not passed meaningful tax reforms since 1986, so cautious optimism remains the watchword.
“What we need to do is find maybe two more votes in the Senate to get this finished…so that when we come back, we’ll be in a position to see this become a reality,” said Scott.
As he wrapped up his remarks, Scott declared his allegiance for the University of South Carolina Gamecocks in their Nov. 25 football contest against defending National Champions, the Clemson Tigers. Scott’s position drew applause, cheers – and a few good-natured jeers – from the bipartisan crowd