FAIRBANKS — Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski announced Wednesday she plans to vote in favor of the Senate GOP’s tax overhaul bill which will be up for a vote later this week.
Murkowski said she feels the bill will be good for Alaskans.
“It lowers tax rates, doubles the child tax credit and provides tax relief for many families by doubling the standard deduction,” Murkowski said. “It promotes economic growth, employment and investment by improving the tax code for corporations and small businesses. And it removes the tax penalty for those who do not wish to purchase health insurance that they cannot afford or that offers little value to them.”
Murkowski added that she was pleased the legislation includes a title to open oil development and exploration in the 1002 section of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Regarding repeal of the tax penalty for people who do not have health insurance, Murkowski earlier this month noted that, while not a precondition for her support of the tax bill, she believed Congress should work to stabilize health care markets prior to beginning the repeal process. She added that passing the Alexander/Murray bipartisan health care bill could be even more important if the individual mandate is repealed.
According to a recent report done by the Congressional Budget Office, repealing the individual mandate starting in 2019 and making no other changes to current law would increase the number of uninsured citizens by 4 million in 2019 and 13 million in 2027. Murkowski did not address these statistics in her most recent statement.
The report also identifies that the bill has the potential to add $1.7 trillion to the national deficit, a figure which Senate Republicans have vowed will balanced out in estimated economic growth.
Alaska Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan confirmed his support for the legislation in a recent interview with CNN, addressing the CBO report and his views on potential growth from the bill.
“That score by the CBO takes into account — they estimate that our economic growth with that score would be 1.9 percent over the next 10 years. I think that vastly underestimates what we can do in this economy,” Sullivan said. “You know, one of the things that is so important about this tax bill is we’ve got to get this economy growing again. We’ve had a lost decade of economic growth. About less than 2 percent GDP growth. We can get to 3 percent, 3.5 percent economic growth. We’re going to do that and those deficits won’t be such a challenge.”
Sullivan said he was open to the idea of a snapback provision if the GDP growth does not unfold as he expects.
The bill will go before the Senate later this week for further discussion and a potential vote.
Contact staff writer Erin Granger at 459-7544. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/FDNMPolitics.