by Jon Styf
U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett is concerned about the cost to Tennesseans if the federal $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill are voted on and passed next week.
Burchett, R-Tenn., who represents the 2nd Congressional District in east Tennessee surrounding Knoxville, won’t be voting for the bill, as four other Tennessee congressmen told The Center Square this week.
Burchett is worried about the tax implications, with corporate taxes rising to 31.3% and federal capital gains taxes rising to 31.8% before many states tax those same capital gains. Tennessee does not have personal or capital gains taxes.
Burchett believes corporate taxes really tax those who have stock in a corporation and hurts their retirements. A study from the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Wharton business school said the $3.5 trillion spending plan would lead to an economic decline.
“If you want to cripple real estate, that’s what you do,” Burchett said Friday. “That’s higher than what they pay in China, of all places.
“When they say they are going to tax the rich, there’s a reason that rich people are rich. They’re just going to pass it down to us. They will continue to pass it down to us in the form of inflation, and it will just raise the cost of everything for us.”
When the infrastructure bill passed the Senate last month, it was touted by Democrats as a plan for much-needed infrastructure improvements throughout the country.
“It’s been a long and winding road but we have persisted and now we have arrived. There were many logs in our path, detours along the way, but the American people will now see the most robust injection of funds into infrastructure in decades,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the Senate floor before the vote.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has opposed the bill, and a group of Democratic House members have said it will vote for the infrastructure bill only if the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act passes first.
Burchett said he wishes the federal government operated more like Tennessee, with a balanced budget and caption bills, which authorize spending for specific items without any add-ons.
It’s the “pork” that bothers Burchett with the infrastructure bill as $550 million is targeted toward hard infrastructure Burchett would support, such as roads, bridges, dams and drains.
“There’s $256 billion that’s going to add to the debt,” Burchett said of the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate. “At this pace, what does that even matter anymore? It matters to people like me. It matters to people in Tennessee.”
Burchett singled out the $7.5 billion earmarked for electric vehicle charging stations along highways, saying that type of subsidy is competing against private businesses such as Tesla and would create a convenient opportunity for “murderers and thieves” to prowl at the charging stations late at night.
“A lot of this stuff doesn’t even have to do with traditional infrastructure,” Burchett said.
Burchett said it feels like Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, know they are on the way out and are trying to make a deal before they get hurt by this spending in mid-term elections.
“I just think they’re out of touch, this leadership, the Democratic leadership,” Burchett said. “They’re sacrificing a lot of their moderate members and they are facing them to take these tough votes that they really shouldn’t have to do. It’s short-sighted on their part, but I think it goes deeper than that. Pelosi knows she’s on the way out and she’s got to cut a deal and this is her legacy in some liberal utopia.”
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