Trump pitches tax plan to Mo. vot­ers

Pres­i­dent of­fers few de­tails on ‘pro-Amer­i­can’ sys­tem over­haul

USA TODAY US Edition - - NEWS - Gre­gory Korte

Pres­i­dent Trump WASH­ING­TON tried to pump en­ergy into his ef­fort to re­vamp the tax code, en­list­ing Missouri vot­ers Wed­nes­day to put pres­sure on their Demo­cratic sen­a­tor to pass what he called “pro-Amer­i­can tax re­form.”

Trump was sell­ing a tax plan that largely doesn’t ex­ist, and the few de­tails he gave are the same that he out­lined in a onepage doc­u­ment back in April.

The pres­i­dent flew to Spring­field, Mo., to give a speech that was part pol­icy and part pol­i­tics, try­ing to get mo­men­tum on leg­is­la­tion that has been caught in a con­gres­sional traf­fic jam be­hind health care, in­fra­struc­ture and the bud­get.

“This is our once-in-a-gen­er­a­tion op­por­tu­nity to de­liver real tax re­form to hard­work­ing Amer­i­cans,” Trump said. “I don’t want to be dis­ap­pointed by Congress. Do you un­der­stand me?”

Trump told fac­tory work­ers to call Demo­cratic Sen. Claire McCaskill to urge her to sup­port Trump’s tax plan.

“If she doesn’t do it for you, you have to vote her out of of­fice,” he said. The Missouri sen­a­tor is run­ning for re-elec­tion in 2018, and her of­fice didn’t im-

me­di­ately re­turn a re­quest for com­ment.

The speech was aimed at mid­dle-class tax­pay­ers — those whom Trump called “the for­got­ten peo­ple.” The White House chose the venue for the speech, a fan and blower com­pany, for its prox­im­ity to Route 66, the his­toric route for com­merce and tourism across the Amer­i­can West.

Af­ter a long pre­am­ble thank­ing dig­ni­taries and ad­dress­ing the re­sponse to Hur­ri­cane Har­vey, Trump out­lined broad bul­let points for his tax plan:

Mak­ing the tax code “sim­ple, fair and easy to un­der­stand.” Trump said the av­er­age tax­payer shouldn’t need pro­fes­sional help to file a tax re­turn and should be able to file their taxes on a sin­gle page.

Re­duc­ing the cor­po­rate tax rate. Cutting the top cor­po­rate tax rate from 35% to 15% is per­haps the tough­est sell for Democrats, but Trump said that pro­vi­sion would amount to a pay raise for Amer­i­can work­ers. Re­duc­ing taxes will make Amer­i­can com­pa­nies more com­pet­i­tive, lead­ing them to hire more work­ers and put pres­sure on wages, Trump said.

Mid­dle- class tax re­lief.

“If (Sen. Claire McCaskill) doesn’t do it for you, you have to vote her out of of­fice.” Pres­i­dent Trump

Trump was less spe­cific on this pro­vi­sion than he was in April, when he pro­posed cutting the top tax rate from 39.6% to 35% and re­duc­ing the num­ber of brack­ets from seven to three.

Bring back overseas cor­po­rate prof­its. This pro­posal, known as tax repa­tri­a­tion, would lower the rate on prof­its made overseas in or­der to en­cour­age com­pa­nies to bring that money back to the USA. Trump said his pro­posal would re­cap­ture a por­tion of the more than $3 tril­lion in such prof­its held by U.S. com­pa­nies off­shore.

No sooner had Trump de­liv­ered the speech than Democrats de­nounced it.

Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Charles Schumer, D -N.Y., said Trump’s plan was a “boon for the rich” cloaked in mid­dle­class pop­ulism.

“If the pres­i­dent wants to use pop­ulism to sell his tax plan, he ought to con­sider ac­tu­ally putting his money where his mouth is and putting for­ward a plan that puts the mid­dle class, not the top 1%, first,” he said.

Trump said Wed­nes­day that his tax plan could ac­tu­ally hurt wealthy Amer­i­cans such as him­self who can af­ford an army of ac­coun­tants.

“I’m speak­ing against my­self when I say this,” he said. “It’s crazy. Maybe we shouldn’t be do­ing this, you know? But we’re do­ing the right thing. It’s true.”

JEFF ROBER­SON, AP

“This is our once-in-a-gen­er­a­tion op­por­tu­nity to de­liver real tax re­form to hard­work­ing Amer­i­cans,” Pres­i­dent Trump tells an au­di­ence Wed­nes­day in Spring­field, Mo.

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