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Middle class in the center of debate on Republican tax plan

Republicans in the U.S. Senate believe they have the votes to pass a sweeping tax reform plan. (WSYX/WTTE)

Republicans in the U.S. Senate believe they have the votes to pass a sweeping tax reform plan. Supporters of the plan said the benefits from corporate tax cuts will make its way to the middle class but critics of the legislation aren't buying it.

Congress is trying to overhaul the tax code for the first time in 30 years.

"If the point of tax reform is to boost the US economy, to create jobs, to create investment then they've got to provide substantial tax relief to the tens of millions of small companies out there," said Jack Mozloom who has lobbied in Washington on the bill for the National Federation of Independent Business. "We're talking about Mom and Pop businesses getting a chance to keep 2500, 3000, 5000 more dollars a year and they're not going to buy boats and yachts and golf club memberships with that money. They're going to put that money back into their businesses."

Critics of the bill said middle class folks won't like their tax bill quite as much.

"I don't understand how people say this benefits the middle class," said Wendy Patton with the left-leaning Policy Matters Ohio. "This starts benefiting the wealthy and corporations far more than the middle class and the lower-income, working families."

Patton said families earning between $41,000 and $62,000 will initially save about $700 on their taxes while a family making $658,000 will save $34,000. Those savings will phase out over time though. Ultimately Patton said it's difficult to know how it'll affect the middle class because the bill has been rushed through Congress.

"A huge tax bill that will impact every one of us financially is being rapidly negotiated in an atmosphere that's not transparent at all is also a disturbing factor here," she said.

There have been concerns on both sides of the aisle about the debt and deficit. The non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation said the current plan would add $1 trillion to the deficit. Supporters of the bill like Mozloom said there will be enough growth in the economy to offset that.

"They've got to do something," Mozloom said. "This is what they need to do."

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