BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Washington is set to pass an historic tax reform plan this week. U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy says it comes with a lot of perks for Louisiana, but a local policy organization says it comes at a price.
The 1,000 page Republican tax overhaul plan, unveiled on Friday, got overwhelming approval by the House and is set to cross the Senate floor. Tuesday morning, Cassidy made his decision clear in an interview with 9News.
"I am absolutely voting for this tax bill," he said.
The senator says it promotes economic growth, better wages, and benefits for middle class working families. The bill removes the penalty for those who choose not to buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Cassidy says it also includes roughly $100 million to help Louisiana rebuild its coastline and it doubles the standard deduction, meaning less taxes for many.
"Even more families will not have to deduct, say for example, their charitable contributions or mortgage interest in order to pay less taxes. Families will pay less taxes and it will be simpler to file their income tax," said Cassidy.
But Jan Moller, the executive director for the Louisiana Budget Project, a non-profit group that does research on behalf of moderate and low income families, says the tax plan will only make the rich richer and will add up to $2 trillion to the federal deficit. He says it will also leave Washington desperate and looking for money to afford benefits like Social Security and Medicare.
"By 2027, when this tax bill expires, those tax breaks are going to be gone and people in the middle class are going to be paying higher taxes, but the corporate tax breaks that are at the heart of this bill are permanent and are going to continue forever, and stage for massive cuts to the budget and programs that working families depend on," said Moller.
Moller also says doing away with the insurance mandate means a rise in premiums and rates which will translate into at least 13 million Americans not having healthcare coverage.
"No one knows when we are going to get a serious illness or accident that's going to require tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of care that most working families can't afford. That's why we have insurance and that's why it's important that everyone pays into the system in some way shape or form," said Moller.
Senator Cassidy says the tax overhaul makes insurance more sustainable. Opponents say Americans could see the cost of that change in the federal budget as soon as next year.