Congressman Tim Ryan


Will Tim Ryan Push Tax Cuts Repeal?



Does Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan share his boss's view that recently passed tax cuts are "unpatriotic"? Ohio's 13th District voters deserve to know.  


House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi made this charge last week on the first stop of her 100-city soapbox tour opposing tax cuts. She has also called tax cuts "Armageddon" and "the worst bill in the history of the United States Congress." She has referred to ordinary Americans' significant tax cut-induced pay raises as"crumbs" and "pathetic." And she has promised to "repeal" the tax cuts if Democrats retake Congress on Election Day. 


Rep. Ryan has commendably stood up to Rep. Pelosi in the past, most notably by launching a long-shot run for party leader after the 2016 election. He is one of only a handful of national Democrats who has put the party on notice that it won't be allowed to devolve into a coastal and cosmopolitan party of the elite without a fight. 


But while Rep. Ryan has separated himself from party orthodoxy on cultural warfare and identity politics, he has not indicated whether he stands with party leaders in their promise to repeal tax cuts. But he did join with all his colleagues to vote against their passage last year and has previously called for higher taxes on small businesses. Given his rising national profile, all Americans deserve to hear whether he'd support clawing the tax cuts back. 


This issue has taken on added importance with the recent news that J.M. Smucker Co., one of the biggest employers in the region, is using its tax cut savings to give $1,000 bonuses to 5,000 of its employees. This payout will have a major impact on these employees' well-being. And the five million dollar injection will have a positive impact on the local economy. 


Smucker's is just the latest example of a major American employer reinvesting its tax cut savings in their employees. Over the past two months nearly 400 companies, collectively employing roughly four million Americans, have announced similar bonuses and compensation increases as a direct result of tax cuts. 


Many of these are major Ohio employers. Nationwide Insurance in Columbus, Cintas Corporation in Cincinnati, and R&L Carriers in Wilmington all employ thousands of Ohioans and are giving $1,000 payouts to their employees because of the tax cuts. 


And it's not just big companies. Small businesses such as Dayton's Staub Manufacturing, profiled during the recent State of the Union Address, have been able to raise wages, hire new employees, and expand because of their tax cut savings.


Even Ohioans who don't work for employers giving out bonuses will still get a pay raise because of the reduced federal tax withholding associated with the tax cut. The median family is earning roughly $1,600 more per year because of the cut. More if they have kids. 


While these four-figure pay increases may be "crumbs" to coastal multi-millionaires like Rep. Pelosi and Sen. Bernie Sanders, they are real money to the majority of Ohio workers who are living paycheck-to-paycheck. They are often enough to pay for annual gas, utility, cell phone, or cable bills. 


At a broader level, more money in Ohio and less money extracted by Washington D.C. stimulates Main Streets and local communities, many of which were passed over by the so-called economic recovery. Ohio's unemployment rate is down to 4.7 percent, the lowest it's been since the beginning of the century. And after a steady decline during the Obama years, the state's labor force is growing again. 


Rep. Ryan's skill in keeping the Democratic Party establishment at arms length has helped him turn what was once a swing district into a comfortably seat. But his position on repealing tax cuts that are putting money in his constituents' pockets may make it competitive once again. 


Alfredo Ortiz is president and CEO of the Job Creators Network.