Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law almost one year ago, more than 2 million jobs have been created, unemployment is at the lowest level since 1969, incomes continue to rise and our economy is strong. It has led to more jobs, bigger paychecks and a fairer tax system, especially for lower-and-middle-income Americans.
The law lowered the tax rates in every income bracket, allowing all South Dakota families to keep more of their hard-earned paychecks. It also doubled the child tax credit to $2,000, doubled the standard deduction and repealed Obamacare’s individual mandate which imposed an unfair tax on families making less than $50,000 per year. Additionally, the tax law created the first national paid family leave program, which offers flexibility for parents to take care of their kids or care for an elderly parent.
It is also a win for farmers, as it doubled the exemption rate of the death tax to $10.98 million a person and stopped a massive tax hike for farmer co-ops.
With farm income down 50 percent in the past five years and trade uncertainty adversely affecting the ag economy, these tax changes have provided a sliver of relief and certainty.
Over the past year, we’ve seen the law’s role in improving the economy and making a positive impact in the lives of American families. The U.S. Department of Commerce recently reported the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose at 3.5 percent in the third quarter of 2018. American families are seeing higher paychecks and feel more comfortable spending in the current economic environment. Consumer spending, which according to the Commerce Department accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, is up .6 percent last month.
With unemployment at a historic low, we now have more job openings than job hunters in the United States.
This gives potential employees leverage when looking for a job that fits their needs. However, we must also continue to advance workforce development policies so businesses can fill open jobs with skilled workers. When U.S. businesses thrive, they help to strengthen the entire economy.
We especially want small businesses in South Dakota to succeed. Our small businesses provide good-paying jobs, pay local property taxes and reinvest into the future of our state. They help to support the communities where we live and raise our kids. The tax law enhanced small businesses by allowing them to keep more of their hard-earned income and reinvest in their companies. As a result, hundreds of small businesses have announced expansion, pay raises, bonuses and other benefits to employees.
Tax reform has delivered results for families across our state and across the country. It was the first time in a generation – since Ronald Reagan was president – that we enacted sweeping new reforms to the tax code and provided tax relief to hardworking families. I’m proud of the historic changes we made to the tax code that are already helping millions of Americans, and will continue to benefit our country for years to come.