INDIANAPOLIS — President Donald Trump came to Indianapolis Wednesday to call for the largest tax cut in U.S. history, promoting the Republican-led tax reform as "pro-jobs, pro-worker and pro-family."
"Government is working for you once again, not for the donors, not the special interests but the hard-working, taxpaying citizen," Trump said.
His 40-minute speech at the Indiana State Fairgrounds was timed to the GOP announcement in Washington of details of the tax overhaul proposal.
The heart of the president's message to the 400 people invited to the speech was an appeal to the individual taxpayer frustrated with the current federal tax code.
The plan calls for lower tax rates for individuals, lower small business tax rates, lower corporate tax rates and simplifying tax forms to a one-page document for individual filers.
As proposed, the first $12,000 of income for an individual and $24,000 for a married couple would be tax free. Also, the seven existing tax brackets for taxable income would be reduced to three: 12 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent.
The Child Tax Credit would be increased along with the elimination of the marriage penalty. Also, a new $500 tax credit would be created for those caring for an adult dependent or loved one.
The plan would reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. For five years after the plan is implemented, businesses would be able to write off immediately the cost of their equipment and other capital investments.
The business tax relief was applauded by Dan Thystrup, who owns a paddle boat manufacturing firm in North Webster.
"One of the big problems is all the hoops you have to go through," he said. "Everything that's relieving us makes us more competitive so we can sell more boats and we can hire more people."
Trump spoke from a teleprompter on a stage flanked by six American flags, a large American flag banner and a blue curtain behind him. There were no audience members sitting on stage.
During the speech, Trump recognized Aaron Williams, who works in information technology and is known in Indianapolis for organizing anti-crime efforts.
"Aaron has seen the disastrous effects of high, literally high corporate tax rates, right up close and personal as more and more high-tech jobs are shifted overseas. ... Like millions of other Americans, Aaron wants to bring those jobs back to the United States," Trump said.
After the speech, Williams said, "It was a great speech. I think it really hit home on some of the concerns of so many Americans in closing those loopholes that the wealthy are able to take advantage of, really bringing those jobs back here to America that are going overseas because our tax brackets aren't competitive."
Trump also praised Vice President Mike Pence for initiating tax cuts when Pence served as Indiana governor. Trump said the cuts under Pence's administration were "the largest income tax cut in the state's history."
"This state has a powerful competitive edge built on low taxes and less regulation. And are we cutting regulations," Trump said.
Since Pence’s 2013 tax cuts, unemployment in Indiana has been cut in half and more than 200,000 jobs have been created, the White House said.
The Democratic National Committee took issue with Pence's record on cutting taxes.
In a statement, the DNC said, "While Donald Trump touts Mike Pence’s tax record in Indiana, Hoosiers remember that as governor, Pence’s measly 0.1 percent tax cut didn’t deliver the job growth he claims, and put the interests of the wealthy and corporations above those of working families.
"As governor, Mike Pence barely cut income taxes for working-class Hoosiers, while corporations and the top 1 percent saw big benefits."
During his talk, Trump urged U.S. Sen Joe Donnelly, who flew to Indianapolis on Air Force One with the president and fellow Indiana Sen. Todd Young, to vote for the tax reform plan.
Trump told the crowd, "If Senator Donnelly doesn't ... we will come here, we will campaign against him like you wouldn't believe.
"Democrats and Republicans in Congress should come together, finally, to deliver this giant win for the American people and begin middle class miracle — it's called a middle class miracle — once again," he said.
In response, Donnelly, a Democrat seeking re-election in 2018, issued a statement saying, "I work for Hoosiers, not President Trump or any political party. As it stands, the framework released today is missing many details that will be critical to determining whether working and middle-class families truly stand to benefit."
In thanking local politicians, Trump referred to Rep. Luke Messer, a Republican who represents the 6th District is is seeking the GOP nomination to oppose Donnelly, as "Mike."
Messer took to Twitter and wrote to Trump: "Well...you win some, you lose some! You still have my support for Tax Cuts!" He signed the tweet as "Luke 'Mike' Messer."