Photo by WTIC's Will Purcell

Rep. Larson Holds Public Forum on Taxes in Manchester

February 19, 2019 - 11:01 pm

MANCHESTER, Conn. (WTIC) - Congressman John Larson held a public forum to discuss the problems and concerns of citizens filing taxes under the new federal tax law this season.

Rep. Larson's public forum comes at an important time during filing season, as the IRS reports that the average tax refund (as of the second week) was down nearly nine percent.  Furthermore, the total number of refunds is down 16 percent.

More citizens are experiencing the impact of the federal tax law, which was signed by President Trump in December, 2017, as receiving a smaller refund or owning the government money has become commonplace for some.  For months the IRS has warned tax payers to do a "paycheck checkup" to make sure they had the proper amount withheld.

The result of the changes has left some confused, shocked and angered.

Changes in the Law were accompanied with withholding guidelines, which set the standard for how much employees should withhold from paychecks.  Rep. Larson says in all fairness, his Republican colleagues are not out to "tax people more", but rather the problem stems from a lack of public input and expert testimony in drafting the bill in the first place.

"The real problem stems from the fact that in December of 2017 there were no public hearings with respect to the tax bill," said Rep. Larson.

The Congressman noted the bill was "marked up", presented and then quickly passed.

He also cited the last major tax overhaul in 1986 when Ronald Reagan was President where public input and expert testimony was a major piece of drafting the legislation.

"There were over 400 witnesses, 26 hours of mark-ups and 26 days of hearings on the tax bill because the United States tax code is complicated," said Rep. Larson.

Congressman Larson, who sits on the Tax Committee, said the newly controlled Democratic Congress will "return to regular order".  That "return to order" basically meaning Congress will invite the type of order needed to seek input from constituents, especially when it comes to tax proposals.