On April 26, President Trump announced his tax proposal and the reaction of Washington D.C. residents was swift. “I’m not paying more taxes than corporations,” John Fanning, an advisory neighborhood commissioner in Ward 2, told the AFRO bluntly.

The aims of the Trump tax plan, according to Whitehouse.gov, are to grow the economy and create jobs, simplify the tax code, provide tax relief to families in the middle-income bracket, and lower the business tax rate. For example, the plan calls for a lowering of the individual tax rate from 39.6 percent to 35 percent and reduce the number of total rates from seven to three.

D.C. resident, Ralph Chittams Sr., said he is receptive toward Trump’s tax plan. (Courtesy Photo)

Other parts order doubling the standard deduction and lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent. A tax break for child care is proposed, along with eliminating deductions except mortgage interest and charitable contributions.

International corporations would pay taxes for activity generated in the U.S., while now they should pay taxes for all profits no matter where in the world operations are based. Plus, the plan would call for a one-time tax on trillions earned by U.S. businesses overseas that never were assessed by the U.S. government.

The Trump plan also calls for eliminating the estate tax.

“There’s a lot in his proposal to like,” Ralph Chittams Sr., a resident of Ward 7, told the AFRO. “The 15 percent flat corporate tax rate would be a benefit to LLCs and I also like the elimination of the death tax, known as the estate tax. The doubling of the personal exemption would be a benefit to most Americans because you won’t have to file itemized forms.

“The home exemption and the charitable giving exemption remain and that is good.”

However, Chittams did say that “the devil is always in the details” in terms of who exactly will benefit and what the average taxpayer will have to pay.

“I am wary of the Trump tax plan because it adds to the deficit,” Ken Fealing, vice president of a District tech firm, told the AFRO. “Reducing taxes raises the government’s bills. I don’t think his tax plan is being paid for.”

Fealing said lowering the corporate tax rate of 35 percent to 15 percent should be done gradually and not just in one fiscal year. He said that a friend of his works as a chief of staff to a member of the U.S. Congress and thinks that the plan is “dead on arrival” when it reaches Capitol Hill.

“It would require genuine reductions in the federal budget if it is implemented and that will not be easy to do,” Fealing said.

Tax reform hasn’t taken place since the Reagan administration in 1986. While there was talk about overhauling the tax code during the Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama administrations, no significant action ever took place.

Trump’s plan, which is a one page outline of goals lacking in specifics, has yet to be introduced into Congress and Democrats are unlikely to offer support for it.

District residents and businesses will be affected by the tax plan depending on their income and size, D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) told the AFRO. Evans, chairman of the Committee on Finance and Revenue, said he “supports lot” of the Trump plan. “I believe in lowering taxes because that will stimulate the economy,” Evans said. “Trump’s proposal will eliminate the estate tax that was instituted after World War II and I think should have been repealed a long time ago. They should have phased it out. . . .

“Lowering the corporate tax rate is great,” Evans said. “Our corporate tax rate is the highest in the world. When I was in Dubai recently, I was told by business owners and corporate leaders that they didn’t want to invest in the United States because the tax rate was so high. The United States needs to be competitive and even economist say that the rate should come down.”

Evans did voice concerns on how the Trump tax plan would be paid for. He also admitted that not many Democrats agree with him on the plan. “I am looking to be pragmatic on this, not just agreeing with the party,” he said.