March 4, 2017
By Chris Rochester
MacIver Institute Communications Director
The Republican grassroots expects Washington politicians to deliver on their campaign promises of a major tax code overhaul, a sentiment that's backed up by a new poll by the American Action Network, a center-right advocacy group based in Washington - as well as Republican leaders in an area of Wisconsin where Trump emerged the surprising victor.
The poll, which surveyed Republicans, found that 77 percent of Republicans think tax reform is extremely or very important. It also found that Republican rank-and-file voters are most concerned that the current tax code is too complicated and tax rates are too high.
"As President Trump and conservatives in Congress work on tax reform, this constituency is strongly behind them and overwhelmingly supports center-right tax reform. It's clear, now is the right time to deliver on a simple tax code with lower rates for all Americans," said AAN Executive Director Corry Bliss in a statement.
Brian Westrate, chairman of Wisconsin's 3rd District Republican Party - a historically blue, mostly rural district in western and central Wisconsin that Trump won handily - framed the imperative to reform the tax code as a moral one.
"Those in power in our nation's capital have a moral duty to the people they represent to tackle the over 75,000 pages that comprise the current tax code, to deconstruct it line by line, and reform it as a simple, effective, efficient, and fair new law," Westrate said.
Bill Feehan, chairman of the La Crosse County Republican Party, said rank-and-file Republicans are very much in tune with the conversation in Washington and expect bold tax reform, especially after Trump - who made tax reform a centerpiece of his campaign - won the presidency in November.
"Tax cuts are the fastest way to stimulate our economy. Income tax cuts put more money in people's pockets and most of the money gets spent right away," Feehan said.
"This gets the economy going from the bottom up. Allowing businesses to keep more of the money they earn results in pay raises for employees, new equipment purchases and investment in business expansion," added Feehan, also a La Crosse-area business owner.
AAN's poll also went into specifics about Trump and Congressional Republicans' job performance and asked respondents about their tax reform plan. Respondents overwhelmingly support the broad outlines of the GOP's plan, with 85 percent approving. Respondents also said tax reform should make it easier to create jobs, raise wages, and expand opportunity. A new tax code should grow the economy and encourage job creation.
Respondents also viewed President Trump favorably - 89 percent registered their approval. As for Congressional leadership, 77 percent approve of the job GOP leaders are doing.
The high support for Trump and Congressional leaders should be a boost for fence-sitting Republicans who might be afraid of the electoral ramifications of major tax reform. "This will take courage, and fortitude, but now that the conservatives in Washington control all levers of power in Washington they must use this opportunity to serve the people," Westrate said.
"They must kill the tax beast built by progressive socialists over the course of the last 100 years."
Both Trump and Congressional leaders in the majority party can maintain those relatively high numbers, it seems, by advancing a bold, pro-growth tax reform plan and doing it sooner rather than later. "Republicans should move quickly on tax cuts," Feehan said.
"With great power comes great responsibility, the American people have given conservatives the power, now it's time to accept the responsibility," said Westrate.