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Rep. Upton: Republican tax plan will make us “more competitive with the rest of the world”

Fred Upton at a microphone

House Republicans are positioning their sweeping tax bill for a planned floor vote next week. 

Senate Republicans are set to unveil their version today.

The GOP goal: get a unified bill on President Trump's desk by the end of this year. Today, Stateside talked with Republican Congressman Fred Upton.

Listen to Upton’s full interview with Stateside host Cynthia Canty above, or read a transcript of the beginning of the conversation below.

CYNTHIA CANTY: Would you vote for the House tax bill as it is right now? 

REP. FRED UPTON: Well, of course, as we chat, the bill is still in committee. We’re going to see what the final bill looks like. I’m going to have a chance to read it and listen to the different concerns. I’m home this weekend and will be meeting with a number of different folks, but, you know, the basic principles are certainly something that I support.

It really is ‘aim for the middle class’ – it doubles the standard deduction. It’s going to lower – the estimates are, at least, the way that it is now – it’s going to lower… the number of folks that itemize their return from about 30 percent to about 10 percent, so that’s a pretty big reduction.

It provides real relief, particularly to small businesses, in what’s called the ‘pass through,’ down to 25 percent. It makes us more competitive with the rest of the world. And I know over here on the west side of the state, we’ve lost a good number of companies to overseas because their tax rate is lower, so this makes it more competitive.

And, you know, we’re early in the process…

CANTY: As you get these early indications of what’s in the House bill, what gives you the most pause or concern?

UPTON: Well… you know as I think about it, I’m trying to make sure that it is really targeted towards the middle class. I guess that’s my number one concern.

"It makes us more competitive with the rest of the world."

There was a concern about a week ago, and I weighed in, with the Ways and Means Committee, and with our leadership, and frankly with the White House as well. There was a move afoot to change the 401(k)s.

These, of course, have been investment, retirement abilities that people have to put it into a retirement fund at a lower, or not pay the tax on it until you actually retire, which is usually a lower rate later on versus what it is when you’re working.

There was a move afoot to change that, to alter it in a major way. I certainly heard from people in my district and weighed in. And I’m glad to say that at least as of now, there are no changes to the 401(k). For me, I’ve always supported every effort for people to save for the future. So that was the bullet that we were able to avoid, at least at this point.

By reducing the tax rates from seven to three or four, maintaining the upper tax rate at 39.6 [percent] for those making more than a million dollars, I think that was a fair compromise and certainly one that I can support.

But I’ll tell you, you know, I was a participant in a small business forum at Western Michigan University a few months ago. The issue that virtually every small business had – men and women that were running small businesses there – was the cost of capital. By being able to reduce that tax rate to what is likely going to be no higher than 25 percent is a huge win for small businesses. They’ve been the engine of economic growth, and I think one where we can really move forward, and particularly help us here in Michigan.

Stay tuned. Stateside will speak with Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee on Friday.

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