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Indiana senator confident Hoosiers are benefiting from 2017 federal tax law changes

U.S. Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., right, touts the benefits of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act during a conversation Monday in Indianapolis with Justin Stevens, state director of Americans for Prosperity.

Dan Carden, The Times

INDIANAPOLIS — As Americans prepare to file their income tax returns prior to Tuesday's deadline, U.S. Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., is touting the federal tax law changes enacted late last year that he says already are paying off for Hoosier workers.

At an activist forum Monday, hosted by Americans for Prosperity-Indiana, the first-term senator declared he is undeterred by critics claiming the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act primarily benefits big business and the rich.

"The American people, regardless of political affiliation, know that the changes that they're seeing in their paycheck are not crumbs," Young said.

The senator explained that a family of four earning the median annual U.S. income of $48,000 this year is paying approximately $2,100 less in federal taxes than it did in 2017 — and many have begun seeing those savings through reduced paycheck withholding.

"That's real money that can be saved for your children's college, that's real money that can be spent to improve your kitchen before the sale of a home, that's real money that can be set aside for a rainy day so you don't end up on public assistance," Young said.

He noted that the impact of individual income tax cuts also is being magnified as businesses, including Valparaiso-based convenience store operator Family Express, pass along a portion of their tax savings by increasing employee wages or paying one-time bonuses.

"This is significantly benefiting rank-and-file Americans," Young said.

At the same time, Young acknowledged that businesses and wealthy Americans are receiving a disproportionate share of the tax reduction.

Though he observed they also pay a disproportionate share of federal tax revenue.

"The fact that someone who makes a lot more money than another American might see a larger refund should be of no surprise to anyone," Young said.

He additionally pointed out that many Hoosiers own stock in companies that are poised to increase their earnings thanks to the tax law, and that growth ultimately will pay off for the individual shareholders in those businesses.

"Those working Americans who are struggling to sock away money for their retirement, at a time when the Social Security system is essentially insolvent, they're going to be looking forward to a more secure retirement on account of this," Young said.

The senator dismissed the suggestion that the tax cuts will blow up the federal deficit.

He believes the economic growth generated by the reductions, along with regulatory reform and other pro-business initiatives approved by the Republican-controlled Congress, will make the tax cut revenue-neutral in the long run.

Not a single Democrat in either the U.S. House or Senate voted in favor of the tax law.

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., last week said nonpartisan projections that the tax law will produce $1 trillion budget deficits by 2020 reaffirms his decision to oppose the measure, since he knows House Speaker Paul Ryan's plan to reduce the deficit is to cut Medicare and Social Security.

"We have clear evidence that the McConnell-Ryan tax law is blowing a hole in our federal budget and contributing to higher costs for families accessing health (coverage) through the marketplace," Donnelly said.

Young said it was "disappointing" to him that "this ended up being a partisan, party-line effort" because he thinks everyone can agree the tax code "should incentivize work, savings and investment."

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Dan is Statehouse Bureau Chief for The Times. Since 2009, he's reported on Indiana government and politics — and how both impact the Region — from the state capital in Indianapolis. He originally is from Orland Park, Ill.