A conservative political action group is urging Rep. Jackie Walorski to oppose the Trump administration’s plans for a 20 percent tax on imported products, saying it would “crush” Indiana’s economy.
The Koch brothers-funded, free-market-oriented Americans for Prosperity, typically a major GOP supporter, finds itself at odds with the Republican president’s protectionist platform.
As part of a broad tax reform plan, House Republicans want to include the so-called Border Adjustment Tax. But Americans for Prosperity, which advocates for lower taxes and less government regulation, said the tax would hurt Indiana manufacturing, energy, retail, financial services and agriculture — industries that employ more than 1.1 million workers in the state.
The group said the tax would generate $1 trillion in revenue a year for the U.S. government.
“Hoosiers can’t afford any part of this trillion-dollar tax and we call on Rep. Walorski to stand with the people and oppose this tax,” AFP Indiana state director Justin Stevens said in a statement.
Walorski, R-Jimtown, serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, which will write the tax reform bill. The committee was scheduled to begin hearings on the bill Thursday, followed by another hearing Tuesday specifically on the border tax proposal.
Her spokesman, Jack Morrisey, said Walorski wasn’t available for an interview Wednesday. Morrisey stopped short of saying whether Walorski supports the tax, but indicated she was leaning that way.
The tax has been included in House Republicans’ “blueprint” for tax reform as a way to make tax cuts “revenue-neutral” so that they can be permanent. The tax would offset revenue that would be lost to changes that include lowering corporate and individual income tax rates, and reducing the number of income tax brackets.
“She’s continuing conversations with companies back in the district, her colleagues on the committee, and members of the administration, to come to an agreement on a tax reform bill,” Morrisey said. “She supports finding a way to permanent tax reform. (The border tax) is a proposal in order to reach that goal.”
Rather than relating it to the deficit, Trump during his election campaign last year said such a tax would deter U.S. manufacturers from moving jobs out of the country.
When asked for her position on the border tax, Morrisey gave The Tribune a written statement from Walorski that did not mention it.
“Our broken tax code is holding our economy back,” she said in the statement. “Tax reform based on growth, simplicity, and fairness will benefit Hoosier families and businesses and boost job creation in the state.”