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“I believe in freedom, not more free stuff.”-Sen. Kennedy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement about the recent tax package passed by Congress.

“While some in Louisiana state government are trying, yet again, to raise the taxes of the people of Louisiana, President Trump and the United States Congress have cut taxes for the hard-working people of Louisiana.  We believe that families can spend the money they earn better than government bureaucrats can,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “We believe in freedom, not more free stuff.  You cannot create prosperity through taxation and government spending.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced that the deadline is upcoming for National Flood Insurance Program policyholders affected by Louisiana’s August 2016 floods to submit a Proof of Loss form. The Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017 deadline also applies to supplemental claims.

“Thousands of people were impacted by the August 2016 flooding,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “The end of the year will be here before you know it.  Please ensure that you’ve filed your paperwork so that you can recover and rebuild. ”

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Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) Helps Pass Once-In-A-Generation Tax Cuts For The American People

“This bill will help every single Louisiana family, and I am proud to be a part of this historic moment.” –said Sen. Kennedy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) voted today to pass a once-in-a-generation series of tax cuts.  By voting for the bill, Sen. Kennedy made sweeping reforms to America’s antiquated tax code while delivering on his campaign promise to lower taxes and help get the economy moving again. 

“This bill helps every single Louisiana family by putting more dollars into their paychecks instead of federal coffers.  New jobs get created when families spend those dollars.  It’s Economics 101,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “We doubled the standard deduction.  We more than doubled the child tax credit.  We lowered tax rates.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: This bill is about tax cuts, jobs, and more jobs.  We have delivered on both.  We’ve finally given families and businesses meaningful tax cuts.  We’re giving them the tools to dream and to build and to prosper. ”

Highlights from the legislation:

  • Increases Take-Home Pay: The typical family of four will receive a tax cut of $2,059.
  • Lowers Tax Brackets: The new tax brackets are 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, and 37%.
  • Doubles the Standard Deduction: For an individual, the standard deduction goes from $6,350 to $12,700.  For a married couple, it goes from $12,000 to $24,000.
  • Doubles the Child Tax Credit: The child tax credit is doubled from the current $1,000 to $2,000, and more parents are allowed to claim the credit.
  • Repeals Obamacare’s Individual Mandate: Repealing this unpopular tax will help provide additional relief to low- and middle-income families.
    • 135,510 people in Louisiana paid the individual mandate tax penalty in 2014 rather than purchase insurance.
    • Builds Families: The Adoption Tax Credit is preserved, which ensures that the adoption process remains accessible and affordable.
    • Supports Teachers: The Educator Expense Deduction is retained, allowing teachers to claim a deduction for money they spend out of pocket on their classrooms.  This tax deduction helps teachers who selflessly spend their own money on school supplies.
    • Preserves Historic Tax Credit: By preserving the Historic Tax Credit (HTC), Louisiana’s historic properties and communities will continue to be revitalized and create new economic opportunities.
    • Provides A Two Year Boost In GOMESA Funding: Under current estimates, Louisiana will receive an additional $100 million in revenue under the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act until 2020 and 2021.  This would allow our state to invest in priorities such as coastal restoration and hurricane protection.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today that the final draft of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) contains important provisions for Louisiana families, teachers, and businesses.  The most significant provision is a two-year boost in the Gulf Coast's share of offshore revenue.

"Louisiana stands to receive millions of dollars in additional revenue for coastal restoration and hurricane protection," said Sen. Kennedy.  "This is a tremendous acknowledgment of the critical role that Louisiana plays in reducing our nation's reliance on foreign oil.  It's also an invaluable gift to our children and grandchildren.  We need to reverse coastal erosion for future generations.  House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy worked tirelessly to ensure this provision was in the bill.  The entire state of Louisiana owes them great gratitude."

The bill also:

  • Creates flexibility for families: Families will receive flexibility in saving money for their children’s education through 529 educational savings accounts.  Traditionally, this money could only be used for college tuition.  Now families will be able to use the savings for primary or secondary school expenses, ensuring that kindergarten all the way through college is covered.
  • Builds families: The Adoption Tax Credit is preserved. This ensures that the adoption process is accessible and affordable.
  • Supports teachers: The Educator Expense Deduction is retained, allowing teachers to claim a deduction for money they spend out of pocket on their classrooms.  This is a modest tax deduction that helps teachers who selflessly spend their own money on school supplies.

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WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today sent a letter asking Louisiana Department of Revenue Secretary Kimberly Robinson to collect unpaid state income taxes from former State Police Supt. Mike Edmonson for the fringe benefits he received while serving as a cabinet secretary.

Text of the letter:       

December 13, 2017

 

The Honorable Kimberly Robinson

Secretary

Louisiana Department of Revenue

617 North Third St.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802

 

By email, fax, and U.S. mail

 

Dear Secretary Robinson:

 

I am requesting that you collect unpaid state income taxes from former State Police Supt. Mike Edmonson.  It is clear from the draft of the state Legislative Auditor's Office report obtained by news media that Col. Edmonson received taxpayer-funded perks that constituted taxable income.  The perks included free housing, utilities, cable television, electricity, dry cleaning, and meals.  These are fringe benefits, and Col. Edmonson should have calculated their fair market value and reported them as taxable income.  

Col. Edmonson is not above the law merely because he was a member of Gov. Edwards' cabinet.  In fact, he took on an added responsibility as a public servant to conduct himself with honor and honesty.  He also cannot be allowed to shirk his tax obligations when Louisiana families and businesses are struggling with a higher tax burden.

As you know, the Edwards administration convinced the Legislature to raise well over $1 billion in new taxes and fees last year, and Governor Edwards asked for another tax increase this year, all at a time when our oil and gas industry is in a depression and we have one of the highest unemployment rates in America.  The least you can do is demand that his cabinet appointees pay their taxes.

                                                                       

Sincerely,

 

                                                                        _____________

                                                                        John Kennedy

                                                                        United States Senator

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced the passage of his resolution asking that all members of Congress spend at least one day a year as a substitute teacher.  The resolution builds upon Sen. Kennedy’s long practice of serving as a teacher several times a year by urging other lawmakers to gain firsthand knowledge of the challenges facing educators and students in the classroom.

“I started substitute teaching 15 years ago when I realized there was a huge disconnect between lawmakers and teachers of secondary and elementary schools.  Teaching is the most difficult job in the world, and very few members of Congress have stood in front of a class of students and taught,” said Sen. Kennedy.   “Teachers not only have to teach, but they’re expected to be psychologists and sociologists and mentors and mommies and daddies.  You have to get in there and experience it to really know what’s going on in the classroom these days.  I’m proud to see my resolution pass the U.S. Senate.  I hope many of my colleagues take the initiative to experience the challenges and rewards of the classroom.”

Click here to read the full text of Sen. Kennedy’s resolution. 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy, M.D. today met with President Trump, top administration officials, and a group of fellow Senators at the White House to advocate for Louisiana oil refining jobs while discussing potential changes to the nation’s biofuels policy.  

“Louisiana is one of the nation’s largest energy refining states.  As such, we have 17 refineries with thousands of workers who depend on maintaining a reasonable proportion of biofuels for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).   It’s imperative that we ensure our nation’s refineries have a seat at the table as we continue to debate a potential legislative overhaul of the RFS,” said Sen. Kennedy. 

“The current Renewable Fuel Standard is harming Louisiana refiners, families, fishers and workers,” said Dr. Cassidy.  “The status quo is unacceptable, so today’s meeting with President Trump was a positive step in the right direction.  I look forward to finding answers for this issue.”

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) sets the amount of ethanol and biodiesel that must be blended into transportation fuel.  The mandated minimum amount of biofuel increases each year, decided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  To make sure that companies are compliant, the EPA uses a credit trading system called the Renewable Identification Number (RIN).  The refiners are the obligated party and must submit these “RIN” credits.  If the refiners can’t blend the fuel themselves, then they purchase these RINs from rivals that do.  Each gallon of renewable fuel has its own RIN.

The RFS was designed to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and increase agriculture production.  Just a few years after the RFS started, the shale boom happened and changed the playing field.  The RFS is a government program that is costing refiners billions and ultimately placing the cost on the consumer at the pump.

The meeting was attended by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.  Also in attendance were Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Enzi (R-WY), James Inhofe (R-OK), James Lankford (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Pat Toomey (R-PA).  

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) sent a letter today to the Republican members of the conference committee that is working on delivering robust tax reform to American families and businesses.  Sen. Kennedy highlighted the importance of three key amendments to teachers, parents, grandparents, the energy industry and coastal communities in Louisiana.

“Congress has made tremendous progress toward delivering meaningful tax cuts to middle-class families and small businesses.  Our conferees are working on smoothing out the differences in order to put a final bill on the President’s desk by Christmas,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “All I ask is that the conferees preserve amendments important to our teachers, our kids and our coastal communities.  Louisiana needs tax cuts, and we also need to educate our kids and stop our coastline from disappearing.”

The full text of the letter is below.  Sen. Kennedy highlighted:

Supporting schoolteachers: The Educator Expense Deduction allows teachers to claim a $500 deduction for money they spend out of pocket on their classrooms.  This is a modest tax deduction that helps teachers who selflessly spend their own money on school supplies.

Creating flexibility for families: An amendment was introduced that creates much-needed flexibility for families who save money for their children’s education through 529 educational savings accounts.  Traditionally, this money could only be used for college tuition.  The amendment gives families more freedom by allowing the savings to be used for primary or secondary school expenses, ensuring that kindergarten all the way through college is covered.

Increasing coastal restoration funding: Louisiana is critical to the nation’s energy industry and reducing the reliance on foreign oil.  Our state is home to a fifth of the nation’s refining capacity and is a major contributor to natural gas production.  Unfortunately, we’re losing our coast at an alarming rate.  A bill passed by the Senate would increase Louisiana’s share of offshore revenue in order to address this growing problem.  We have to sustain our infrastructure, coastal communities and wetlands in order to continue to be an energy powerhouse. 

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Sen. Kennedy: ‘Working together, we were able to craft legislation that will protect consumers without stifling economic growth in our local communities.  This is meaningful reform desperately needed by our smaller financial institutions.’

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) applauded the Senate Banking Committee’s passage of a bipartisan bill, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, that removes unfair regulatory burdens put in place by Dodd-Frank.  This bill right-sizes regulation for community banks and credit unions and includes important consumer protections for veterans, senior citizens, and victims of fraud. 

“It does not take an expert to see that our community banks, local credit unions, and smaller financial institutions did not cause the 2008 financial crisis,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Yet, under Dodd-Frank, these businesses have had to unfairly bear the full regulatory brunt of the law.  After months of negotiation between Republicans and Democrats, we put together a bill that will improve our nation’s financial regulatory framework for Main Street banks while encouraging economic growth in our local communities.  We’re protecting consumers without unfairly penalizing community banks and credit unions.”

The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act will:

Redefine what constitutes a ‘big bank’:

  • Defines a “systemically important financial institution” as a bank with $250 billion or more in assets.  It is widely agreed upon that systemically important financial institutions caused the 2008 financial crisis.
  • Immediately exempts all banks with less than $100 million in assets from prudential standards.
    • Banks with assets between $100-250 million would see regulatory relief after 18 months, but the bill leaves the authority to the Federal Reserve to increase oversight, accelerate the exemption timeline, and/or periodically stress test these banks.

Put in place new consumer protections:

  • Requires credit bureaus to provide customers with one free credit freeze and one free unfreeze per year and creates new protections for minors.
  • Allows Veterans to exclude certain medical debt from their credit reports. 
  • Applies consumer protections to real property retrofit loans.
  • Extends protections to whistleblowers who disclose the exploitation of a senior citizen.

Provide regulatory relief:

  • Adjusts community bank leverage ratio to between 8-10%.
  • Reduces short-form call reporting requirements for banks with assets under $5 billion.
  • Exempts certain reciprocal deposits from being considered as funds obtained by or through a deposit broker.
  • Allows federal savings associations with less than $15 billion in assets to elect to operate like national banks without being required to convert their charter.
  • Streamlines requirements for small public housing authorities in rural areas.
  • Creates parity among the national securities exchanges by amending the Securities Act of 1933.

Improve consumer access to mortgage credit:

  • Exempts small banks ($10 billion and less) from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act reporting requirements.
  • Expands the definition of a qualified mortgage to include those issued by banks or credit unions with less than $10 billion in assets.
  • Creates lending parity between credit unions and banks for certain types of loans.
  • Ensures the tax deductibility of donated services, like appraisals, to charitable organizations like Habitat for Humanity.
  • Eliminates barriers for jobs for registered loan originators moving between states.

The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act was introduced by Senators Crapo (R-ID), Kennedy (R-LA), Corker (R-TN), Cotton (R-AR), Scott (R-SC), Rounds (R-ND), Perdue (R-GA), Tillis (R-NC), Risch (R-ID), Moran (R-KS), Donnelly (D-IN), Heitkamp (D-ND), Tester (D-MT), Warner (D-VA), McCaskill (D-MO), Manchin (D-WV), King (I-ME), Kaine (D-VA), Peters (D-MI), and Bennet (D-CO).

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) today voted for H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  According to the non-partisan group the Tax Foundation, under the Senate tax bill, Louisiana will see an increase of 12,611 new jobs and the average family will gain $1,857 in after-tax income.

“This bill is about three things: tax cuts, jobs, and more jobs,” said Sen. John Kennedy.  “It doesn’t take an expert to see what’s stalling the American economy: middle-class families need to see more of their hard-earned dollars in their bank accounts.  This bill gives them that while allowing American job creators the freedom and flexibility they need to increase wages and create jobs.”

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will:

  • Double the Standard Deduction: For an individual, the standard deduction goes from $6,350 to $12,000. For a married couple, it goes from $12,700 to $24,000.
  • Double the Child Tax Credit: The child tax credit is doubled from the current $1,000 to $2,000, and more parents are allowed to claim the credit.
  • Lower Tax Rates: Individual tax rates for middle-income Americans are reduced from 22.5% to 22%, 25% to 24%, and 32.5% to 32%, which will help taxpayers keep even more of their hard-earned money.
  • Repeal Obamacare’s Individual Mandate: Repealing this unpopular tax will help provide additional relief to low- and middle-income families.
  • 135,510 people in Louisiana paid the individual mandate tax penalty in 2014 rather than purchase insurance.
  • 83.5% of those people had incomes under $50,000.

 

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