Photo courtesy of the campaign
U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Sewickley) has been a strong supporter of Congressional Republicans’ efforts to pass their tax-cut bill. He voted in favor of the U.S. House version of the bill and has offered full-throated support for the House-Senate version introduced on Dec. 15.
“This tax reform legislation puts more money in the pockets of hardworking Pennsylvanians, creates more jobs in our state, and lessens the power of Washington,” said Rothfus in a November statement.
But non-partisan analysis of the bill shows most of tax-cut bill
benefits will go to the wealthy, and any benefits for working-class Americans will be limited. While income tax cuts will be doled out to all Americans initially, those cuts will expire in 2025. The corporate tax rate, however, will be cut from 35 percent to 21 percent and will be permanent.
Sewickley lawyer and Democratic U.S. Rep. candidate Beth Tarasi
is running for Rothfus’ seat and is calling for Rothfus
to tell his constituents how he would personally benefit from the GOP tax bill, considering his large net worth. Rothfus, with a net worth
of more than $6 million, has the second highest net worth of any representative in Pennsylvania.
"From his own financial disclosure forms, we know Keith Rothfus owns between $5.5 million and $14 million in stocks, and makes a six figure income just from stock dividends every year,” wrote Tarasi in a press release. “Before he votes to give himself a bigger tax break, Congressman Rothfus needs to come clean: how much does this tax bill benefit him?"
While the 12th Congressional District median income is growing, the median household income is still solidly middle-class at about $60,000 a year. According to non-partisan Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, households making $60,000 a year will have their after-tax income inch up about 1.5 percent after 2018. However, that benefit will shrink to a 1.2 percent increase by 2025, and then become negligible in 2027. And news site Vox
reports that about 70 percent of people in the middle-fifth of income earners ($54,700 to $93,200 a year) could actually have their taxes go up by $150 a year after 2027.
But, those in the richest 5 percent of income earners (those making more than $308,000 a year) will see their after-tax income increase by about 3 percent initially and by about 1 percent in the long term. Considering the earnings of the richest 5 percent of the country, these benefits can total in the millions of dollars.
For this reason Tarasi
calls the tax bill “a giveaway to the biggest corporations and the wealthiest people in the country.” And, there is also reason to believe Rothfus could benefit greatly from the proposed tax bill.
As Rothfus’ financial disclosures
show, he earns hundreds and thousands of dollars each year from dividends from more than 40 stock-market assets. David Zervos, chief market strategist for Jefferies LLC said in a Dec. 16 Fortune
article, that savings from corporate tax cuts will go to shareholders via dividends and stock buybacks, customers in the form of lower prices on products, or to raising employee wages. But Fortune
notes that “many predict that the bulk of the gains will go to shareholders.”
A request for comment to Rothfus’ office went unanswered.