Op eds

This op-ed by Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) first appeared in Houma Today on Sept. 6, 2018.    

Not long ago, I got a letter from a tiny town in southeast Louisiana. The town is so small that it would make Mayberry look like a metropolis. The letter writer wanted to thank me for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and register a minor complaint about his mulching business.

“My phone has been ringing off the hook,” he wrote. “If this keeps up, I won’t be a small business for long.”

That is the power of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. It is reaching into the smallest towns and improving lives.

The federal tax reform package turned six months old this summer. The ink is dry on the president’s signature, and we can take a hard look at the results. I can proudly say that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 has done more to improve lives in Louisiana than any other piece of legislation in recent history. You’re paying sky-high state sales taxes because of the state’s inability to manage its finances, but your paycheck is a little bigger thanks to Congress.

Federal tax reform did two big things: It reduced how much money Uncle Sam takes from you on payday and lowered the tax rate that employers pay.

It’s amazing what happens when you give the economic engine a little push. More than four million workers across the U.S. have received bonuses, pay raises or increased benefits. More than a million jobs have been added. The national unemployment rate is so low that you might need a calendar to tell you it’s not the 1960s.

As one Lafayette man put it in a quote that’s gone viral: “It’s bigger than crumbs.” It certainly is. Tax reform was a crowning achievement. It was the boost that the middle class badly needed, and it’s resonating across Louisiana.

Here is, sector by sector, how tax reform is having a positive impact on industries that call this state home:

Oil and gas: This industry has employed generations of Louisianans. In fact, Standard Oil transformed Baton Rouge into an industrial hub when it located along the Mississippi River. We reduced the tax rate for oil and gas companies and treated their overseas’ earnings more fairly. The result: ExxonMobil plans to spend a whopping $50 billion in the U.S. on new jobs and operations. Plans are on the drawing board for further expansions along the Gulf Coast.

Banks: It’s not just big banks that benefited from the tax cuts through lower tax rates. Small banks also got a boost. The result: Banks across Louisiana are raising employees’ wages and giving bonuses.

Utility companies: It’s hot in Louisiana, so you’re probably lowering the thermostat and worrying about your energy bill. Tax reform cut the tax rate for utility companies. The result: Utility companies are passing along the savings to customers.

Marine services: We chopped the tax bill for companies that have been struggling with the downturn in the oil and gas industry. The result: Blessey Marine in Harahan turned tax savings into increased employee benefits.

It’s bigger than crumbs.