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Senate GOP Closer To Sending Tax Reform Bill To Floor

By Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4) - The Senate GOP tax reform bill could go to the floor by the end of the week.

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(credit: CBS)

The bill passed the budget committee Tuesday on a party-line vote as protestors chanted "Stand up! Fight back!" outside of Sen. Cory Gardner's office in Denver.

"There are people here and at home, that we know and love, who's lives will be changed dramatically if this tax bill passes," said Katie Farnan, a representative of Indivisible Front Range Resistance.

The group organized the rally that included people like Joan Hemm who told CBS4, "We're going to be paying more in taxes."

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Katherine Amato suggested the bill puts corporations over individuals. "They want to give the richest and the biggest corporations the biggest tax breaks they can," she said.

The bill expands the zero tax bracket; maintains the 10 percent bracket for lower income Americans; keeps the 39.6 percent bracket for the highest income earners; doubles the standard deduction for individuals and couples; expands the child tax credit to $2,000.

It is 521 pages long. Economists, tax wonks, and think tanks have wildly different estimates of it's impact, in part, because there are so many variables when it comes to a person's tax liability.

People who make the same amount of money pay different taxes depending on credits, write offs and deductions.

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Sen. Cory Gardner (credit: CBS)

But, Colorado's Republican senator says the impact will be mostly positive. "This is going to be good for the state. It's going to be good for economic growth and it's a way for us to make sure the people of Colorado and people across the country are better off tomorrow than they are today," said Gardner.

Most analysts agree the majority of taxpayers would see a tax cut next year, but in 10 years, the opposite will be true.

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In order to lower the cost of the bill, which sits at $1.4 trillion, Republicans made the individual tax cuts expire in 2026. Business tax cuts are permanent.

"I hope we make all of these tax cuts permanent. I'd like to see bi-partisan support to make them permanent," said Gardner.

Republicans insist cutting taxes will spur economic growth, more than offsetting the cost. But Democrats say trickle-down has never worked.

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The GOP can only lose two votes for the bill to pass. "If this tax bill doesn't pass," warned Farnan, "they'll basically be limping into 2018 and limping into 2020 (elections)."

The Republican holdouts are opposed, in part, to corporations getting a bigger tax break than small businesses. Gardner says the bill can be improved for small business and will likely undergo amendments on the floor.

Sen. Gardner's Full Statement on the Senate GOP's tax reform bill:

"Today marked an important step forward to bring Coloradans and the American people tax relief," said Gardner. "This legislation will increase wages, grow the economy, create jobs, and benefit hardworking Coloradans. I look forward to the bill being debated on the Senate floor through an open amendment process, and I'm hopeful my colleagues from both sides of the aisle will work together to bring much needed tax relief to the American people."

Gardner released a statement when the original legislation was introduced at the beginning of the month.

Background on Senate Tax Relief Legislation

The Council for Economic Advisors (CEA) estimates that simply lowering the corporate income tax rate to 20% will result in the median wage for the average Colorado Household increasing by $4,385. The academic literature cited by the CEA suggests the wage gains could even be up to $9,000 or more.

  • Lowers the individuate tax rates for low-and middle-income Americans by expanding the zero tax bracket and maintaining the 10 percent bracket.
  • Doubles the standard deduction to protect even more income from being considered taxable income.
  • A family of four earning the median family income ($73,000) would see a tax cut of nearly $2,200.
  • A single parent with one child and an income of $41,000 will see a tax cut of more than $1,400.
  • Expands the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000, lowers the threshold income required for the refundable portion of the credit, and indexes the refundable portion for inflation.

Shaun Boyd is CBS4's political specialist. She's a veteran reporter with more than 25 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter @cbs4shaun.

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