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Tax reform roundup: SD officials take sides on latest hot topic in DC

South Dakota's trio of Republican congressional delegates are trumpeting new tax reform guidelines, but the South Dakota Democratic Party isn't as keen on the proposal.

South Dakota congressional delegates U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds, left, U.S. Sen. John Thune, center, and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem attend an event in 2017 at Dakotafest in Mitchell. (Republic file photo)
South Dakota congressional delegates U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds, left, U.S. Sen. John Thune, center, and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem attend an event in 2017 at Dakotafest in Mitchell. (Republic file photo)

South Dakota's trio of Republican congressional delegates are trumpeting new tax reform guidelines, but the South Dakota Democratic Party isn't as keen on the proposal.

The plan unveiled last week would drop the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent and the top income tax rate from 39.6 to 35 percent. It would also consolidate the individual tax brackets from seven to three.

While U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem touted the proposal as a method to increase jobs, simplify the tax code and help middle-class families, South Dakota Democratic Party Executive Director Sam Parkinson also hoped any tax reform proposal was aimed at benefiting the working class families in the state. But the pair differed on whether the GOP plan would achieve that goal.

"Democrats believe any change to our tax code should benefit South Dakota's working families, not the top 1 percent," Parkinson said. "Unfortunately, from what we know so far, it is clear the Republican plan is a tax plan written by Wall Street, for Wall Street."

Parkinson pegged the GOP tax reform principles as a "giveaway" to corporations and the wealthy, but Noem doesn't see it that way.

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After joining a group of legislators in the White House last week with President Donald Trump, Noem said the proposed tax reduction would level the playing field for American businesses and workers.

U.S. Sen. John Thune echoed a similar sentiment, while simultaneously slamming what he called "higher taxes" and "more regulations" during the administration of former President Barack Obama.

"Working Americans across the country are living paycheck to paycheck," Thune said last week. "We must deliver on tax reform policies that will lead to more jobs, fairer taxes and bigger paychecks."

Fellow U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds, one of the three Republicans serving South Dakota in Congress, also backed the guidelines, and sees his plan to drop each tax bracket by 2 percent as a fallback plan if the current GOP proposal falls flat. He also said the plan is not a tax cut for the wealthy and will add more opportunities in the U.S. economy.

If the GOP can't reform the tax code, however, Rounds said it could have an impact on the Republican-led Congress.

"There's not a lot of confidence in Congress the way it is today, but what's left would be gone if we can't get something done on this," Rounds said on a call with reporters last week.

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