President Donald Trump called the GOP’s tax reform plan a “middle class miracle” as he rolled out details in a speech in Indianapolis Wednesday.
Trump said tax reforms passed in Indiana before and during Vice President Mike Pence’s time as governor should be a model for national change.
Pence wasn’t at the speech at the State Fairgrounds, but Trump mentioned him often. He touted the individual income tax cut Pence spearheaded, as well as Indiana’s corporate tax rate and its incentives for businesses that locate or expand in the state.
“It’s time for Washington to learn from the wisdom of Indiana,” Trump said. “We need Washington to promote American jobs instead of obstructing them.”
Among the reforms Trump said will benefit businesses: a corporate income tax cap of 20 percent, and one-time amnesty for companies to bring off-shored earnings back to the U.S. at a low tax rate.
“We want them to do business in our country, not to leave our country like a number of firms from Indiana,” Trump said.
He then seemed to reference Indiana’s deal with the Carrier company, which agreed to keep some but not all of its factory jobs in Indianapolis.
“Some made some great promises to me,” he said of firms that left the state. “But those promises are only being partially kept, because they’re incentivized to leave. But now they’re going to be incentivized to stay.”
Trump said workers, farmers, small business owners and the middle class will be the biggest beneficiaries of those changes, and of simpler, lower tax rates.
He said the GOP’s tax plan will eliminate the estate tax and make the first $12,000 of income per earner tax-free. It would also create more breaks for having children, create three tax brackets at 12 percent, and limit the tax filings of “most Americans” to one page.
Gurinder Singh Khalsa founded SikhsPAC, a political action group for Indiana’s Sikh community, and he was in the audience at Trump’s speech. He said he represents an increasing number of small business owners, who face “a lot of tax burden.”
Khalsa was optimistic about Trump’s proposals.
“We need a simplified tax, and it’s been overdue for years,” Khalsa said. “We really need tax reforms, and we are in for that.”
In his speech, Trump asked audience members like Khalsa to pass that on to Congress. And he singled out Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), who’s up for re-election next year.
“If Senator Donnelly doesn’t approve it, because, you know, he’s on the other side, we will come here. We will campaign against him like you wouldn’t believe,” Trump said, smiling at Donnelly, who sat nearby.
Donnelly issued a statement after the speech, saying:
“I work for Hoosiers, not President Trump or any political party. As it stands, the framework released today is missing many details that will be critical to determining whether working- and middle-class families truly stand to benefit.”
Read the GOP tax reform framework:
Tax reform document from NPR. Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Lauren Chapman contributed to this story.