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Tax reform a hot topic at Duffy town hall

Rep. Sean Duffy speaks at a town hall on Monday, Jan. 8. About 50 people attended to pose questions on a variety of topics, including tax reform, international relations and more. Rebecca Mariscal / RiverTown Multimedia

A smaller crowd did not mean a less rambunctious one at the town hall hosted by U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy (R) on Monday, Jan. 8 at the Hudson House.

About 50 people attended the town hall that was announced Sunday evening, a relatively small number compared to some of Duffy's previously packed events. Constituents still made their voices heard with questions and commentary, both agreeing and disagreeing with Duffy's stances.

Duffy said he welcomed the varying viewpoints, saying it's why he holds town halls in his district throughout the year.

"You have a right to come in and ask me hard questions," he told those present.

Some members of the audience expressed a wish for him to hold more town halls, and give more notice of them. Duffy said he's in the top 5 percent of representatives that host town halls.

Tax reform was one of the main topics of the morning. Duffy opened with his view on the recently passed tax bill.

Changes in the bill, signed into law at the end of 2017, include a corporate tax cut from 35 percent to 21 percent, a larger child tax credit and tax cuts for most Americans through 2026. Duffy said the tax reform lowered the rates for everybody, in every tax bracket.

"When people say this doesn't do anything for the middle class, they're absolutely wrong," Duffy said, calling anything that suggests such a "bald-faced" lie.

One of the key aspects was lowering the corporate tax rate, Duffy said. He said this will help American corporations compete on a global scale.

The reform also doubled the standard deduction to $24,000, Duffy said, and increased the child tax credit to $2,000.

"It's a huge deal for our families," he said.

Kathy Roberts of North Hudson asked Duffy's thoughts on the $1.47 trillion deficit to fund the tax bill, saying the Republican focus is normally on a balanced budget. Duffy said the amount is the debt over 10 years, not one. He said the growing economy will address the debt.

"I am concerned about the debt," he said.

Bill Giese of Town of Hudson said he did not believe the tax reform would help the middle class. Giese said increasing the debt would provide a greater burden on the middle class, and said he is concerned about potential cuts to Medicare and other social programs. He was also concerned about the effect on healthcare costs.

Duffy said Obamacare was a huge driver of debt. With this reform, he said letting people keep more of their money is a good thing.

"Growing the economy is an important aspect of addressing the debt," he said.

Scott Thompson of Hammond asked the congressman how the congressman bridges the gap between what the bill will do and what he said some media outlets are saying about it. Duffy said many media outlets have listed the bill as a bad thing, but he said he believes people will see the positives as the economy grows.

"I think in the end they'll love it," Duffy said.

The town hall also covered the issue of a border wall, which Duffy said he supports, and the Children's Health Insurance Program, which Duffy said he voted for a temporary extension of funds to the program.

International issues like relationships with Iran and North Korea were discussed as well. Duffy said the U.S. should back Iran's protests, but without making it an American protest. He also said there is no easy solution to North Korea, but that the current tougher talk is a shift from previous policies.

"Dealing with a bully with a little bit of bully talk can't hurt," he said.

Rebecca Mariscal

Rebecca Mariscal joined the Hudson Star Observer as a reporter in 2016. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in communication and journalism. 

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