Indiana Senators Split On $1.4 Trillion Tax Bill

Dec 2, 2017

Indiana’s U.S. senators split on the landmark tax overhaul bill as the Senate voted overnight Saturday 51 to 49 to advance the measure.

The legislation lowers the corporate rate to 20 percent and – at least temporarily – lowers taxes for most individuals. It’s also expected to swell the deficit by $1.4 trillion over the next 10 years. And the average taxpayer ends up paying more over the next decade as most of the cuts expire.

Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) voted yes on the bill. In a statement, he says the measure makes taxes simpler and fairer and will allow Hoosiers to keep more of their paycheck. And Young calls it a boon for the Indiana manufacturing sector.

“This tax code, once put in place, will incentivize these businesses to invest in more capital equipment so that their workers will be more productive and earn higher wages,” Young says.

Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) joined his fellow Democrats in voting against the bill. He says the legislation isn’t tax reform – he calls it a “partisan tax hike” on Indiana’s middle class that does nothing to prevent outsourcing.

“This bill does not close tax loopholes like the one that allows Wall Street hedge fund managers to pay a lower tax rate than a Hoosier firefighter, than a Hoosier teacher, or a Hoosier steelworker,” Donnelly says.

He also says he’s tried to work closely with President Donald Trump and his administration on tax reform. Donnelly notes he shares Trump’s stated goals of middle class tax relief and less outsourcing.

But Indiana’s Democratic senator was sharply criticized after his vote by two of his prospective opponents in next year’s election. U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Brownsburg) and U.S. Rep. Luke Messer (R-Shelbyville) both issued statements slamming Donnelly for his “no” vote.

Rokita says Donnelly “failed Hoosiers” to side with the DC liberal elite. And Messer says the Hoosier senior senator only calls himself bipartisan as he votes with his party’s “liberal leadership” to block the Trump agenda.

The White House, national Republicans, and self-professed fiscal conservative groups have pressured Donnelly for weeks to vote in favor of the tax bill. President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have each visited the state as part of that effort.