Congressman Thomas J. Rooney

Representing the 17th District of Florida

Growing the Economy

While the national unemployment rate hovers around 4.1%, I firmly believe that the best way to encourage job creation in the United States is for Washington, DC to get out of the way of small businesses that are working to grow our economy. I look forward to working with the Administration and my colleagues to reduce the overly burdensome regulations that prevent businesses from thriving. 

Eliminate costly, burdensome regulations: Costs of regulation quickly reach consumers, raising the price of goods, and disproportionately hurting low-income families. Executive branch agencies should write regulations only when necessary, make them minimally intrusive, stay within the legal mandate, and avoid creating barriers for new and small businesses. We are working hard every day in the House to weed out old and bad regulations, and ensure that the laws we write are helping American families, not getting in their way. I have supported legislation to require congressional approval of major Executive branch regulations (those with an annual economic impact of more than $100 million) before those regulations can go into effect. I am glad that the President has repealed the “waters of the United States” definition that posed an unnecessary burden on private property owners. Additionally, I oppose the Department of Labor's (DOL) "fiduciary rule" which seeks to hamper middle class individuals' ability to invest and save for their future.

Reform and simplify the tax code: The tax code as it stands is complicated and frustrating and I support replacing our broken tax code with a simpler system that actually works for Americans and grows our economy. Specifically, I have voted to make permanent the enhanced child tax credit to ease the financial burden on families with children. I believe that the best path to economic prosperity is to reduce the regulatory system, reduce taxes, and return the focus to small businesses. There are two tax reform proposals currently under consideration in Congress.  Since I was elected to the House of Representatives, I have supported a re-write of our complicated and cumbersome tax code.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: Now, for the first time in 30 years, we have the opportunity to follow through on our promise to the American people and deliver on tax reform. For this reason, I was proud to support H.R. 1 – or the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – when it passed the House of Representatives on November 16, 2017. 

There are a lot of misconceptions about what the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act does and does not do. Some opponents of the bill claim it is nothing but a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans and that it only benefits big corporations. That is just not true. Under this bill, the highest earners will continue to face the highest tax rates while low- and middle-income families will see their tax burdens reduced. In fact, by eliminating costly and complex tax loopholes and special deals that have historically benefitted wealthier Americans, this bill reduces taxes on families and businesses of all sizes.

In order to learn more about how the House-passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will impact individuals, families and businesses, I’ve outlined the key changes this bill makes to current law below:

Individuals and families

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is focused on improving the lives of all Americans – especially the middle-class – by delivering more jobs, fairer taxes, and bigger paychecks. Here’s how the bill will help middle-class Americans and their families throughout their lives:

  • Simplifies and lowers individual tax brackets – The bill replaces the seven existing tax brackets (10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35%, and 39.6%) with four brackets (12%, 25%, 35%, and 39.6%). This means the tax rate for an average middle-class family in Florida’s 17th District (making $55,000 a year) would be lowered from 15% to 12%.
  • Doubles the standard deduction – The bill lowers the tax burden for low-income Americans by roughly doubling the size of the standard deduction. That means more of each paycheck will be protected from taxes – from the existing amount of $6,350 to $12,000 for individuals and $12,700 to $24,000 for married couples each year.
  • Protects interests of senior citizens – For the 236,000 seniors in the 17th District, the bill will boost the solvency of the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, benefiting seniors and future generations that rely on the Medicare program.
  • Encourages continued homeownership – The bill maintains the home mortgage interest deduction for newly-purchased homes up to $500,000. This will benefit current and aspiring homeowners in the 17th District, where the median home value is $158,800.
  • Keeps existing tax credits and benefits for families – The bill preserves the itemized deduction for charitable contributions, retains the popular retirement savings options (such as 401(k)s and Individual Retirement Accounts) as you know them today, and preserves the Child & Dependent Care Tax Credit so you don’t have to choose between earning a paycheck and taking care of your children or older dependents.
  • And many other important provisions, which you can read about here.


Businesses of all sizes

I believe that small businesses – and the individuals who start them – are the backbone of the American economy. Unfortunately, today’s complex tax code can make it incredibly difficult for businesses of all sizes to succeed, grow, and create jobs in our communities. Here’s how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will lift these burdens off our country’s job creators and the millions of Americans they employ:

  • Reduces rates for small businesses – Today, the majority of American businesses are operated as “pass-through” businesses, which are taxed at the individual owner level at rates that can be higher than 40%. The bill separates pass-through business income from ordinary individual income from wages, taxing business income at a maximum rate of 25 percent. This is a significant benefit for the 42,709 taxpayers in the 17th District who earn their living from a small business.
  • Protects rural businesses and farms – Over 9,800 of Florida’s 14,483 farms are family-owned and operated, but the current tax code (specifically, the so-called “death tax”) unfairly penalizes farmers and ranchers who wish to pass their family-owned businesses onto the next generation. The bill keeps American agriculture viable for generations to come by gradually increasing the death tax exemption threshold from $5 million up to $10 million until the death tax is repealed altogether by 2024.
  • Eliminates the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) – The bill delivers simplicity, fairness, and certainty to millions of families and job creators who will no longer have to deal with the AMT – a feature of today’s broken tax code that forces many taxpayers and businesses to calculate their taxes twice every year.
  • Makes America’s corporate tax rate more competitive – For far too long, American companies have been subjected to the highest tax rate in the industrial world, causing job creators to move overseas. The bill lowers the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20% to encourage American corporations to invest in American manufacturing, American resources and American workers.
  • Encourages immediate business investments and more – Among other pro-growth provisions, the bill will allow businesses to immediately and fully expense the cost of property and equipment currently eligible for bonus depreciation.

Following the House-passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Senate passed a slightly different version of the bill on November 28. Before a final tax reform package can be sent to the President for his signature, a special committee of House and Senate members must hash out the differences between their respective versions of the bill.

I truly believe that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reform our tax code and help keep the promise of the American Dream alive for the next generation. However, the only way that dream will become a reality is if Washington gets out of the way and allows taxpayers to keep more of what they earn. This is a big moment for our country and, if this bill is signed into law by the end of the year, a big moment for you and your family this coming tax season.