Schneider, Bennett differ greatly on federal tax overhaul

  • Doug Bennett, left, and Brad Schneider, right, are candidates for the Illinois' 10th Congressional District seat.

    Doug Bennett, left, and Brad Schneider, right, are candidates for the Illinois' 10th Congressional District seat.

Updated 10/15/2018 5:56 PM

Democratic U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider and Republican challenger Doug Bennett disagree about the federal tax overhaul enacted in December.

Schneider, who voted against the plan, said it dramatically increases federal debt over time to give people tax cuts today.


"We're mortgaging our kids' future," he said.

Bennett said he fully supports the law, calling it "a good piece of legislation." Even so, he said it needs improvement.

Schneider and Bennett, both of Deerfield, are running for Illinois' 10th Congressional District seat in the Nov. 6 election. They discussed the changes to tax law and other issues in a joint Daily Herald interview and in questionnaires.

The Republican-driven tax plan, which President Donald Trump signed into law in December, offered the biggest tax changes in a generation. It created big tax cuts for corporations and wealthy Americans and more modest reductions for other families.

The cuts have a price, however. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted the plan will add $1.9 trillion to the national debt over the next decade.

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No Democrats in the House or Senate supported the proposal.

Schneider, who's seeking his third term in Congress, spoke strongly against the law.

"It recklessly explodes our debt to reward those already at the top, at the expense of many of my constituents and our state," Schneider said.

Schneider singled out the new $10,000 cap on taxpayers who deduct their state, local and property taxes as particularly odious.

"Many working families in my district will see little benefit or even tax increases through restriction of the (property tax) deduction," he said.

Schneider also criticized how the law further weakened the Affordable Care Act by eliminating the individual mandate requiring Americans to have health insurance or pay penalties.

But there were elements of the legislation Schneider supported, such as changes to the corporate tax structure.

"I've always said we needed to bring down the corporate tax rate to enable American companies to compete on a global stage, to develop innovations here, create new products here, manufacture those products here and ship them around the world," said Schneider, who's part of a group of pro-business Democrats in the House.


Bennett, a computer consultant making his fourth bid for elected office, said the law is working. He believes significant tax cuts for the wealthy and businesses will make U.S. companies more competitive overseas.

He disagrees with some elements of the law, however -- particularly the cap on property-tax deductions. Republicans missed an opportunity for bipartisan support by limiting that savings, he said.

"I will work to restore the full state and local tax deduction to help Illinoisans to offset the outrageous property taxes they pay to local units of government throughout the state," Bennett said.

Bennett also called for greater tuition deductions to help families pay for college.

The 10th District includes parts of Cook and Lake counties. It runs from the North Shore into the Northwest suburbs.

• Daily Herald news services contributed to this report.

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