Marylanders should be skeptical of tax plan

The Republican Congress is now attempting to rush its tax reform bill through the legislative process by Thanksgiving, hoping that Americans will not wake up to the turkey that is being served until it is too late (“Election losses could snarl GOP’s tax reform push, a top GOP senator says,” Nov. 8). Ads supporting the bill are now airing and they claim that middle class households will benefit from the doubling of the standard deduction from the current $12,000 to $24,000 for joint filers under their bill.

While it is true that the bill would double the standard deduction for joint filers, what the ads fail to mention is what you are giving up for that higher standard deduction. You are giving up all your personal exemptions ($4,050 each) for you, your spouse and each dependent child, and you are giving up the ability to itemize valuable deductions for state and local taxes and, in some cases, mortgage interest. While a childless couple renting their home and not itemizing deductions might fare well under the tax reform bill, in almost any other scenario that involves children, a home mortgage and a two-earner couple deducting their state and local taxes, our Maryland couple will fare much worse under tax reform.

The value of the state and local tax deduction and the mortgage interest deduction can easily exceed $25,000 for many two-earner Maryland households, and factor in the loss of the personal exemptions for each member of your family and it's a no brainer that the tax reform bill will harm many Maryland families. Even our hypothetical childless couple would do well to reconsider their support for this bill if they are planning a family or planning the purchase of a home in the future.

All Maryland taxpayers should check their 2016 tax returns and then fact check whether your claimed exemptions and deductions exceed the meager $24,000 you will be limited to under the current bill. You owe it to your family to do so.

Richard LaShier, Perry Hall

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