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President Trump's Harrisburg speech draws a mixed response

President Trump's Harrisburg speech draws a mixed response

After the president finished his speech Wednesday night, we talked to people who were there and got their thoughts on his tax reform plans.

President Trump pointed out a trucking company the he said would benefit from taking away the estate tax.

"We are going to protect thousands of family businesses by ending the crushing horrible and unfair estate tax sometimes known as the death tax," said President Trump, "Trucking runs in their blood and Calvin wants to pass it down to his children, just as it was passed down to him by his father."

He says the tax affects their ability to expand and thrive. It requires those with inheritances over $5.49 million to face a tax, something experts say many avoid paying by finding ways around it.

Director of Wealth Planning at Commonwealth Management, Brad Sanders said, "I think it would simplify things and it would allow for a lot of the estate planning techniques that are already in place to circumvent the law it would allow those to go away so that could be a good thing for the economy overall."

Jenna Peeler, CPA with Altland & Associates said, "I just think it's very complicated. Tax planning for very wealthy people, that really isn't benefiting the economy that much."


Sanders says that by taking away the estate tax, it could lead to a boost in the economy. He said, "The wealthy are also going to look to do things that stimulate the economy so as they're building and buying more real estate, spending more money, it's going to put more money in their pockets to spend in the economy."

However, Joan Fulton, a protester who gathered outside the rally Wednesday, said she's not convinced. She said, "If you have a parent with $1 million, it's just passing on more wealth to the next generation where there's people who are already poor. They're not going to get the benefit of having Heatheridge parents, so again it feels like the rich get richer and the poor don't."

According to Family Enterprise USA, close to 20% of family business owners say planning for the estate tax affects their ability to create jobs within their companies.

During the rally, President Trump also shared the story of Lackawanna County Republican Commissioner Laureen Cummings. He said, "Laureen says that if Congress passes tax relief and reform, she will be able to create more high paying jobs for health care workers."

Cummings says that the president's proposal would put more money back in taxpayers pockets. She said, "My business, specifically, has been affected in the past 8 to 10 years by taxes. I am just thrilled that finally, there's going to be relief and I'm very happy for our state and our country."

Commissioner Cummings added, "People are tired of being punished for making money and doing well. The harder you work, the more they take. So, this is going to stop that."


Lynette Villano said she believes that eliminating the death tax would positively affect many of her friends and neighbors.

Villano said, "As I'm making up my will today, I'm thinking, 'oh my kids are going to have to pay inheritance tax.' So, I think that would be a big benefit for people because you're already taxed on money that you earn."

Commissioner Cummings says if lawmakers don't pass the president's tax reform, she believes a lot of them will have a hard time getting re-elected.

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