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Editor’s note: Today’s guest editorial was written by U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Battle Ground). Editorial content from other publications and authors is provided to give readers a sampling of regional and national opinion and does not necessarily reflect positions endorsed by the Editorial Board of The Daily News.

OK, I realize tax time isn’t anyone’s favorite season, but this year is unique: April 17, 2018 marked the last time Americans had to to navigate the current complicated tax code and pay a higher rate when they file their taxes. In December 2017, Congress passed and I supported the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that, starting in 2019, will make it simpler and easier for hardworking citizens to file their taxes.

Even more importantly, starting now, the average Southwest Washington family of four will see $2,300 more in their paychecks this year thanks to these tax cuts. In fact, nine out of ten residents from Longview, Castle Rock, Woodland and Kelso will have their federal taxes cut thanks to this bill we passed.

When I entered Congress eight years ago, we were in the worst economic times our country has seen in decades. People were losing their homes and their jobs. Cowlitz County was particularly hit hard. To this day, wages have failed to keep up with the cost of paying the bills and making the mortgage.

Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to help improve this situation. Our goal was to let individuals and families keep more of their money, and to jumpstart economic growth that America so desperately needs.

A few weeks ago, I visited Northwest Motor Services in Longview – a local business that employs 33 people and repairs industrial motors for factories and industrial facilities. Their outlook on new opportunities was far more optimistic than what I’ve heard from local employers in years. They’d just given their employees raises, and were excited about additional business that may stem from tax cut-driven economic growth – and hiring more people as a result.

This single Longview business isn’t unique. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says the tax cuts Congress passed in December will spur the U.S. economy to grow even faster than originally predicted – 3.3% next year, which is the most growth in 14 years. The CBO expects $1 trillion more in revenue than it did pre-tax cuts.

Additionally, more than 4 million Americans are receiving more than $4 billion in bonuses and benefits from employers who directly credit the savings from the tax cuts. Washington’s nonpartisan chief economist is predicting our state will see 20,000 new jobs as a result of the tax cuts.

But my focus has always been on Southwest Washington specifically. I wanted to make sure people here were seeing the benefits of tax cuts. Here’s a small sample of what I’ve heard:

Randy from Longview and Jonathan from Kelso both work for Home Depot and were excited to receive a bonus check and a pay raise because of the federal tax cuts.

William from Castle Rock told me he’s getting almost $200 more every two weeks. David from Longview said he’s using the extra money to make some improvements in his life “that are making all the difference.” Other folks told me they’re using the extra money to help cover day care costs, add to their child’s college savings account, and buy healthy groceries (which are always more expensive!).

Rita from Longview recently wrote to me: “I am keeping more of my paycheck versus paying it on federal tax. Almost $100 more every paycheck. We work for our money; why should we not be allowed to keep more of it? As well, it will stimulate the economy more because people will have more money to spend.”

Here’s why this Tax Day is a reason to celebrate. Hardworking individuals and families in Southwest Washington will benefit because next year:

  • The average family of four in Southwest Washington will save $2,300 a year.
  • Americans can file their taxes on a simpler form.
  • Families will be able to take advantage of a doubled child tax credit.
  • Everyone will see the standard deduction nearly double.
  • The average single mother will see a 70 percent tax cut.

Simply put, “It is nice to have some money left over after paying bills,” wrote James from Kelso in a recent email to me.

The tax cuts also provide much-need relief for small business owners by offering a first-ever 20 percent tax deduction on business profits. It also helps companies just starting out by letting them write-off the cost of new equipment to improve operations and offer workers skills training. And since the craft brewery industry is booming in Southwest Washington, I was able to help cut in half the federal tax on craft breweries, wineries and distilleries.

Tax filing week isn’t usually a festive time. But as we say goodbye to the old, complicated, higher tax rates, I’m happy that Southwest Washington residents have reasons to celebrate: they get to keep more of their money, and higher wages and better jobs are finally on the horizon.

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