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Ryan Says GOP Plan is Just the Newest Incarnation of Trickle-Down; Portman Says It Will Be a Boon

Congressman Tim Ryan

Northeast Ohio Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan says he’s awaiting the release of the details tomorrow  before passing judgment on the GOP tax cuts. But as WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports, he says if the past is a prologue, he has big reservations.

Ryan says what he’s heard about the Republican plan so far would add $1.5 trillion to the deficit and mean steep cuts to programs like Pell grants for college that boost the middle class. And he says the whole plan is built on trickle-down economics—a premise called into question during the administration of President George W. Bush.

“We cut taxes twice primarily for the top income bracket and that was supposed to let the economy take off. And that was the slowest, most stagnant growth in that decade since the Great Depression. So cutting taxes for the top bracket does not mean investments into communities like ours.”

Ryan’s district includes the Mahoning Valley, an area of the state that swung from heavily Democratic to President Trump last fall. He says the swing was motivated by promises of reinvestment in core industries, wage growth and affordable healthcare for all – none of which he believes the tax package will address.  

Photo of Rob Portman
Sen. Rob Portman says the big changes in the tax package will stimulate wages.

But Ohio's Republican Sen. Rob Portman -- a deficit hawk -- says he believes proposed GOP tax cuts will not increase the deficit nor force Draconian budget cuts.

Portman says that’s because a key piece of the tax package that’s to be unveiled tomorrow is a change in corporate taxes that will encourage businesses to remain and grow in the U.S.

Portman projects growth will offset the deficit

“These are huge changes in the way we tax internationally, the way we tax companies, the way we tax small businesses, the way we provide more funding for the middle class to be able to get that money into the economy. And I’m confident when I look at this that we will have slightly higher economic growth because of that and that will actually lead not just to us being deficit neutral, but actually reducing the deficit.”

Portman says one provision in the proposal he objects to is cutting the tax exemption for retirement savings, and he believes that will be changed.

M.L. Schultze is a freelance journalist. She spent 25 years at The Repository in Canton where she was managing editor for nearly a decade, then served as WKSU's news director and digital editor until her retirement.