On December 1, the U.S. Senate passed its version of comprehensive tax reform (H.R. 1) on a 51 to 49 vote, with Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) casting the only Republican vote against the package over budget deficit concerns (all 48 Democratic and Independent senators voted no). The Senate vote follows House passage of H.R. 1 on November 16. While the two versions share many similarities, there are also significant differences between the bills: the Senate bill sunsets individual tax rate cuts after 2025, delays implementation of the lower corporate tax rate until 2019, repeals the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and has a larger child tax credit, among other things.
The Senate’s legislation impacts many key county priorities. The passed bill would eliminate significant portions of the state and local tax (SALT) deduction, but retain a capped property tax deduction for individuals up to $10,000 (mirroring the House bill). The legislation would also eliminate a tool called advance refunding bonds, which counties can use to refinance tax-exempt municipal bonds. Advance refunding bonds saved counties and taxpayers $12 billion from 2012 to 2016. An updated comparison chart of the two bills, and their impacts on counties, can be found here.
Following Senate passage, Congress has two options for pushing a final bill to the president’s desk. First, the two chambers could enter a conference committee, which would bring lawmakers from each chamber together to resolve differences between the bills. House leadership intends to vote on December 4 to begin the conference process with the Senate. However, another option also exists: the House could simply vote on and pass the language approved by the Senate, if House leadership can generate enough votes. This would send the bill directly to the president’s desk.
NACo will continue working with congressional leadership to advocate for county priorities during the conference deliberations, and we encourage all county officials to engage with your members of Congress on key issues for your county.
Additional NACo and AADT resources:
- Click here to view NACo's comparison chart on the House and Senate tax framework.
- Click here to download NACo's analysis of H.R. 1.
- Click here to view county-by-county SALT profiles.
- Click here to view state-by-state SALT profiles.
- Click here to access more information about SALT from the Americans Against Double Taxation coalition.
- Click here to view NACo's municipal bond toolkit.