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Taxation Without Infrastructure

When I was in Congress, I had the tremendous honor of being on the conference committee that ironed out the final details of President Trump’s tax cuts. We cut rates for every South Dakotan. We doubled the standard deduction. We returned $2,400 to the pockets of the average South Dakota family, and the economy grew for years as a result.


We trusted that the people can spend their own money better than the government can. Unfortunately, President Biden is proposing that we undo much of the progress made with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, all in the name of an “infrastructure” package that has very little to do with infrastructure.


President Biden’s “infrastructure” proposal spends more on electric cars than it does on roads or bridges. In reality, this bill is full of giveaways to liberal special interests who want government subsidized green industries to take over our economy.


Unfortunately, the rest of the economy will suffer as a result. One of the most crucial parts of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was cutting the corporate tax rate to 21%, below the international average. Wages went up for employees as a result. But President Biden is proposing that we undo that tax cut. 


Here’s what higher taxes will lead to: Prices of groceries and other daily necessities will go up. Wages will go down as companies try to recuperate some of the costs. Some employees will even lose their jobs.


South Dakota didn’t shut down this past year, but virtually every other state did. And their economies were devastated as a result. Now, just as these economies are starting to get back on their feet, President Biden is proposing a job-killing tax hike that will devastate the economy all over again.


This “infrastructure” proposal would also repeal all state “Right to Work” laws, which protect workers from overreaching unions. Unions have their place in our economy, but workers should not be forced to join them. They certainly shouldn’t be forced to pay union dues that fund political causes that the workers themselves might not support.  “Right to Work” legislation protects workers from this, but Democrats want to undo all of these state laws in one fell swoop. That’s not only wrong, it’s against the principle of federalism that our nation was built upon.


I also want to highlight one item of President Biden’s proposal that hits very close to home for me. As many of you know, I first got involved in politics because I was frustrated that my family was forced to pay death taxes after my dad died. We doubled the death tax exemption in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, but Democrats are proposing that we undo that by eliminating the step-up in basis when assets are passed on at death. This will lead to a tax increase on family farms, ranches, restaurants, and small businesses. And it will increase paperwork, costs, and heartache on families who have just gone through a tragedy.


Again, all of this is to pay for an “infrastructure” bill that has very little actual infrastructure included. And to top it off, this legislation would be the most expensive in American history. We cannot afford to keep borrowing from our kids and grandkids to pay for liberal priorities. South Dakota lives within its means. The United States government should do the same.