Despite Heitkamp’s Bipartisan Efforts, Small Businesses to See Tax Increase Effective January 1st.

There is a lot to be said about the rushed, poorly written tax bill rammed through Congress. In their mad-dash, the majority overlooked key provisions that help small businesses and individuals, kept members of the minority party out of the process entirely, and produced self-enriching kickbacks. If this was truly a once-in-a-lifetime tax reform, you would hope they would make a good faith effort to get it right.

Let me give you a clear example of the bill’s short-coming and how Senator Heidi Heitkamp has tried to work with Republicans on taxes and health care. It is all conveniently packaged into one proposal that would have had an immediate benefit to small businesses and workers. The delay of the Health Insurance Tax (HIT). HIT is basically a sales tax on health insurance plans sold in the fully-insured marketplace. The tax increases the cost of coverage for small businesses.

A bipartisan delay of HIT was signed by President Obama so it would not be implemented in 2017. That delay expires in 2018, goes into effect next year, and will raise costs on small businesses. Heitkamp offered a plan to delay the tax for another two years to 2020. Once HIT went into effect, her plan would have allowed it to be tax deductible. This is a pro-small business and pro-working family tax proposal. Period.

The common-sense proposal to delay HIT had garnered bipartisan support. Heitkamp introduced it during discussion of fixing Obamacare. Instead of moving forward on pragmatic solutions, the failed “Repeal and Replace” became Congressional focus.

Why bring this up now during the tax bill debate? One, it is a tax. Two, Republicans made sure to include repeal of the individual mandate in their tax bill. They mixed health care and taxes into this bill. Therefore, this isn’t a stretch. They should have included this provision. To do that, they would have had to allow bipartisan efforts and Democrats at the table.

We’re eleven days away from HIT taking place. Because of Republican inaction, small business taxes are going to go up in this area. Had they truly been focused on small business and main street America, they would have welcomed this fix and made sure it was in their tax bill. Instead, they rushed it for partisan reasons.

The same old tired, partisan talking points hit the presses almost immediately following the vote. In North Dakota, the Republican Party is trying desperately to label Senator Heidi Heitkamp as a “liberal” who doesn’t want to work across the aisle. Their tired talking points are smashed out on keyboards without any legitimate evidence to back up their baseless claims.

Tyler Axness