How the Republican tax reform bill could hurt Spokane


SPOKANE, Wash. -The Senate Finance Committee approved the $1.5 trillion Republican tax overhaul proposal Thursday night, just hours after the House of Representatives passed the bill.

The bill repeals the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, cuts taxes for corporations and individuals, and decreases the number of tax brackets.

“We can grow our economy and create thousands of jobs with the #TaxCutsandJobsAct,” Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers wrote on Twitter. “This is about creating more jobs, fairer taxes, and bigger paychecks.”

But Spokane City Council President, Ben Stuckart, doesn’t think the House vote is in Spokane’s best interest.

“Downtown would be a different place and I don't think we'd like it at all if those Historic Tax Credits hadn't been in place,” said Stuckart. “Today the House voted, our representative voted to end that.”

According to Stuckart, there have been 22 projects in downtown Spokane totaling $150 million over the last 20 years.

Those projects include the rehabilitation of the Fox Theater, Steam Plant Square, and Historic Ridpath Hotel.

Those dollars were made available through Historic Tax Credits that former President Ronald Reagan made a permanent part of the tax code in 1986.

The current bill would cut those HTCs.

If it passes, Stuckart says the multiple projects slated for rehabilitation would be dead in the water.

“I’m hoping the Senate comes to its senses,” said Stuckart. “We want those rehabilitated but without this, that's not going to happen.”

The tax reform package also ends the ability for affordable housing tax credits to be sold for bonds.

“By 2020 we need 11,000 affordable housing units,” said Stuckart.

Under the current tax system, affordable housing credits can be sold for bonds that pay for these types of projects.

The Senate will vote on the bill sometime after Thanksgiving. 

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