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The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Floor Speech

Date: Feb. 26, 2018
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Taxes


Mr. BURGESS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.

1986 was the last time our Tax Code was refined. I had been practicing medicine for 5 years. Now, some 31 years later and after 15 years in Congress, the reformation of our Tax Code has made a profound difference in our country.

Mr. Speaker, it is not lost on me that the rhetoric prior to the vote on the conference report on the tax bill was pretty negative. The idea was to sow doubt in the minds of people who would be affected by the tax bill, to sow doubt in the minds of people who would otherwise be wanting to vote for tax relief for tax improvement.

And I will have to tell you something: after that vote--and Mr. Mitchell referenced Southwest Airlines and American Airlines--I cannot remember having ever had the positive feedback for a vote that I have taken here in this Congress like there was for this tax vote.

In my own Walmart, the week after Christmas, people were coming up to me saying, ``I work for American Airlines,'' or ``I work for Southwest Airlines.'' I have a lot of families in the 26th District of Texas who work for American Airlines or Southwest Airlines, and they all got $1,000 bonuses because of the tax relief that we had provided. Again, I cannot ever remember having that much positive reinforcement on a bill that, quite honestly, the rhetoric going into it was pretty negative.

The benefits have been immediate, as indicated by the increases in salaries and bonuses paid to employees. And Southwest Airlines, in addition to the bonuses to their employees, donated $5 million to charity, as well as made some capital improvements.

FedEx, which, of course, employs people all over the country, but has a big hub in the district that I represent, is going to spend $133 million increasing hourly wages, as well as $67 million on programs for salaried employees, and, get this, $3 billion on their pension plan and capital improvements. That is a pretty big turnaround.

The good folks at Peterbilt trucks, located in the 26th District of Texas, received over $170 million in tax benefits in the fourth quarter of 2017, as a direct result of this tax bill. Peterbilt also estimates that its 2018 effective global tax rate will be reduced by up to 8 percent and that the lower corporate tax rate and accelerated depreciation will, indeed, stimulate capital investment.

The increased prosperity of these and other companies will subsequently improve the financial situation of their employees. Coupled with a nearly doubled standard deduction, income for most individuals and families will, in fact, increase.

Chairman Brady mentioned filing taxes on a postcard. Mr. Speaker, when I first came to Congress, I really wanted us to enact a flat tax. I still do. But I will take the improvement that we have gotten, the gift of time, back to, what, 85 to 90 percent of tax filers who no longer are going to have to keep up with that shoebox full of receipts and spend quality time with their accountants every March and April as they prepare their Federal tax return. We are going to allow people to pay for necessities, without having to worry about other discretionary items and services, often provided by small businesses.

Local improvements in economic condition will not only benefit Main Street business owners, but I like to say it is going to benefit Elm Street business owners. That is the small business off of Main Street. It is going to allow people to spend money across State lines. Increased financial mobility will inject capital into the market and continue the growth of our economy.

Look, we are right on the verge of some pretty significant and profound economic changes that are going to be beneficial, I predict, to all Americans. This is an important time in this country, time for us to get to work and deliver for the American people.