Mnuchin makes pitch for GOP tax plan in Columbus

The US Treasury secretary made a short stop in Columbus to pitch the Republican tax reform plans to business leaders. (WSYX/WTTE)

The US Treasury secretary made a short stop in Columbus Tuesday to pitch the Republican tax reform plans to business leaders. He spoke at a luncheon for the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants at the Athletic Club.

"Our economic plan is really focused around tax reform, regulatory relief and trade," Mnuchin told the crowd of roughly 200 people.

Mnuchin spoke one-on-one with ABC6/FOX28 before his speech. He wouldn't guarantee no one in the middle class would see their tax bill go up.

"Our objective is to make sure everybody has a tax cut," he said. "Given all the complexities in the code, that's something that we're dealing with."

Several hundred graduate students at Ohio State protested the Republican plan Monday, specifically the provision getting rid of the tuition waiver for students. The students protesting said taxing their tuition waivers could triple the taxes owed by many students.

"That's a legitimate concern," Mnuchin said. "There's lots of legitimate concerns and again, we're trying to balance lots of different constituencies and give people tax cuts."

Right outside of Mnuchin's speech, a small group of people protested.

"That would be a tax handout to the wealthiest, to millionaires, billionaires and wealthy corporations directly at the expense of the middle class and working Ohioans," said Daniel van Hoogstraten with the group for Ohio's Future.

Democrats were also outside to dispute Mnuchin's pitch.

"If (the tax plan is) aimed basically in a way that people at the top are by far the biggest beneficiaries, and now we know millions of people across this country will actually see a tax increase, that's just not something Democrats are going to support," said David Pepper, the chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party.

Mnuchin said the Trump Administration wants to slash taxes for as many people and businesses as possible.

"This is really about creating a middle income tax cut which will put money in people's pocket right away and creating a competitive business tax system which we think will lead to better paying jobs," Mnuchin said.

The Treasury secretary said he believes the tax plan will lead to more economic growth. That will mitigate how much it'll add to the debt and deficit. Independent studies have disagreed saying it could add trillions of dollars to the debt.

Mnuchin said the House may vote on a plan later this week with the hope of having something for President Trump to sign into law by the end of the year.

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