Trump, GOP roll out tax plan; cuts rates, doubles deduction

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are rolling out a wide-ranging plan to cut taxes for individuals and corporations, simplify the tax system, and likely double the standard deduction used by most Americans.

Months in the making, the plan meets a political imperative for Republicans to deliver an overhaul of the U.S. tax code after the failure of the health care repeal.

The public reveal of the plan was set for today. The day before, details emerged on Capitol Hill while Trump personally appealed to House Republicans and Democrats at the White House to get behind his proposal.

“We will cut taxes tremendously for the middle class. Not just a little bit but tremendously,” Trump said as he met with members of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. He predicted jobs “will be coming back in because we have a non-competitive tax structure right now and we’re going to go super competitive.”

Among the details: repeal of the tax on multimillion-dollar estates, a steep reduction in the rate corporations pay from 35 percent to 20 percent and potentially four tax brackets, down from the current seven.

The current top rate for individuals, those earning more than $418,000 a year, is 39.6 percent.

The goal, the architects say, is a simpler tax code that would spur economic growth and make U.S. companies more competitive with overseas rivals.

Delivering on the top legislative goal will be crucial for Republicans intent on holding onto their congressional majorities in next year’s midterm elections.

The tax overhaul plan assembled by the White House and GOP leaders aims at the first major revamp of the tax system in three decades.

It would deliver on a major Trump campaign pledge.

The outlines of the plan were described Tuesday by GOP officials who demanded anonymity to disclose private deliberations.

The plan would likely cut the tax rate for the wealthiest Americans from 39.6 percent to 35 percent. A new surcharge on wealthy taxpayers might soften the appearance of the wealthiest Americans and big corporations benefiting from generous tax cuts.

Republicans already were picking at the framework, pointing up how divisions within GOP ranks can complicate efforts to overhaul taxes as has happened with the series of moves to repeal the Obama health care law.