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Advocating for Iowa families and taxpayers in Congress

Feenstra

Our economy is in tough shape. Cumulative inflation has skyrocketed by nearly 20% since President Biden took office while real wages have fallen by roughly 4.4%. The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimated that the economy grew at a rate of only 1.3% in the first quarter of 2024 – three points lower than predicted – while interest rates have surpassed their highest levels in 23 years.

Credit-card debt held by American families has exceeded $1 trillion, the household savings rate fell by 3.2%, the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage has hovered around 7%, and approximately two-thirds of middle-class families have reported experiencing financial hardship in the Biden economy. Our national debt is also quickly approaching $35 trillion, leaving our children and grandchildren on the hook for trillions in debt with no end in sight.

It’s evident that President Biden’s economic policies – which he has dubbed “Bidenomics” – have failed. His proposals of higher taxes and approval of trillions in reckless government spending have slowed economic growth, accelerated price hikes for daily necessities like groceries and gas, and decimated the dream of homeownership for young families. We need a course correction so that more Americans can achieve financial security and save money for a rainy day.

As a longtime advocate for tax reform and a member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, I have worked to deliver real tax relief for our families, farmers, and businesses so that hardworking taxpayers can keep more of their hard-earned money and combat the crushing impacts of record inflation.

This past January, I introduced the Death Tax Repeal Act – which has been cosponsored by nearly 170 of my colleagues – to permanently eliminate the estate tax, also known as the death tax, which intentionally targets family farms and small businesses. In Iowa, our main streets and rural communities depend on a strong agriculture industry and the promise of entrepreneurship. However, under federal law, families who have spent generations running a successful farm or building a profitable business could lose everything overnight in the tragic event of a family death.

Currently, heirs of a family farm or business must pay an unfair and costly tax on the transfer of property, land, or other assets when a loved one dies. In many cases, families in our district do not have the liquid cash on hand to pay a massive tax bill levied by the federal government.

So, unfortunately, these same families could ultimately be forced to sell their farm or business to pay the taxes – inviting foreign ownership of American farmland and leaving store fronts on our main streets empty. That’s why I’m leading the charge to fully repeal the death tax so that we can keep China away from our farmland, allow family farms and small businesses to continue their proud traditions, and encourage the next generation of Iowa farmers and business owners to plant their roots in rural Iowa.

In January, I also voted for the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 357 to 70. This comprehensive tax reform package is a victory for our families, farmers, and businesses. It allows our small businesses to deduct interest expenses to free up extra cash to hire new employees and meet payroll, helps our producers buy farm equipment and other tools, and increases the child tax credit while strengthening work requirements to claim the credit. Additionally, it would incentivize businesses to conduct research and development here in the United States – helping our economy compete with and win against China.

I’ve also helped introduce two pieces of legislation that extend pro-growth and pro-taxpayer provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and benefit our families and small businesses. Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the standard deduction was nearly doubled, and small businesses received a well-deserved 20% tax cut to keep their doors open and employees on payroll. However, these provisions expire in 2025 without congressional action, which would raise taxes on American families and increase operating costs for our businesses.

The Permanent Tax Cuts for American Families Act would make the enhanced standard deduction permanent and ensure that our families benefit from these tax cuts uninterrupted. In 2021 alone, 325,000 taxpayers in our district claimed the enhanced standard deduction – reducing their taxable income and keeping more of their hard-earned dollars in their pockets.

We cannot let the standard deduction revert to its old, lower threshold, especially as inflation has made everything more expensive. At the same time, the Main Street Tax Certainty Act ensures that our businesses can continue to claim the 20% qualified business income deduction.

This tax cut allows business owners to invest in their employees, finance expansions, and weather economic downturns while also growing our economy and keeping our rural communities strong. Just like with the enhanced standard deduction, I will work diligently to keep this beneficial provision in our tax code for our business community.

As a strong, fiscal conservative, I will continue to support policies that lower taxes for our families, help our farmers compete in global markets, and let our small businesses thrive without bureaucratic overreach and regulation.

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Randy Feenstra, a Republican from Hull, represents Iowa’s Fourth District in the U.S. House.

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