Rep. Ryan says accountants, some companies, would lose with tax reform

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Frank Schultz
Monday, October 16, 2017

JANESVILLERep. Paul Ryan spent much of his Monday telling people what a great deal they’d get with the tax reform he’s trying to pass.

In Janesville, he mentioned people who would not benefit from the law.

Ryan did not take questions from The Gazette as he visited Evonik Corp., but he answered five questions from a group of employees.

One man asked what will happen to tax accountants when most people are able to do their own taxes on a postcard-sized form, as Ryan proposes.

They’ll be out of work, Ryan said, “but they’re really smart people. They’ll find other things to do.”

Ryan and quite a few in the crowd chuckled at that.

“We spend billions of dollars and billions of hours a year, as people, filling out our taxes. It’s a complete waste of time and energy and money,” Ryan said, and some profit from that system.

“We think that those industries can do other really important things than profit off us, wasting our time,” he added.

Asked if he would reduce tax revenue to the government and reduce spending at the same time, Ryan said that’s what he wants, but the spending bills the House has passed are stalled in the Senate.

The speaker of the House also said a minority of corporations would end up paying higher taxes because they would lose their tax loopholes.

He drew a graph on a whiteboard, showing the real tax rates of U.S. corporations, which are set at 35 percent.

Ryan asked reporters not to hold him to the figures, but he told the employees that loopholes in the tax code mean different corporations pay different tax rates, most paying well above those paid in other countries.

Ryan said a minority of U.S. corporations have such great loopholes that they pay less than 20 percent, including many in the technology sector. Those companies would pay more because the new law closes those loopholes, he said.

Those corporations “are going to fight like H-E-double hockey sticks, but the country will be better off because we will have a fairer tax system, where you pay the same tax rate as the next person,” he said.

One Evonik employee asked what Wisconsin can learn from Silicon Valley and Austin, Texas, which have benefited from business investment, to keep more of this state’s young brains in Wisconsin.

“This is why we’re leaning so hard on the Foxconn deal,” Ryan said.

Ryan said he is already hearing from other technology companies that see Foxconn’s plans and are considering placing their manufacturing plants in Wisconsin.

If that happens, “we will basically become Silicon Valley’s industrial park,” Ryan said.

General Motors had a good run in Janesville, Ryan added, but now Wisconsin needs to look for a new sector of the economy that will become the state’s “economic core.”

Ryan also gave a one-on-one interview to WCLO radio Monday.

“About half of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck today, right now,” Ryan said in the interview. “Giving people relief on their paychecks, we think, is really important in these high-anxiety economic times.”

One Wisconsin Now, a liberal advocacy group, came out with a statement Monday, saying Ryan plans to “hand out tax breaks to the super rich at the expense of hard-working Wisconsinites.”

“The Trump-Ryan scheme will end the estate tax so the heirs of billionaires and multimillionaires like Trump and Ryan can keep every penny of the dynastic wealth they’ve done nothing to earn,” according to the group.

Ryan told WCLO he believes that if tax reform passes, the U.S. will see 3 percent economic growth next year, something that hasn’t happened for a decade.

Ryan plans to continue talking about tax reform at 9:10 a.m. Tuesday on WCLO’s “Your Talk Show.”

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