House passes tax reform legislation

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WDBJ7 & AP) President Trump says the House passage of a $1.5 trillion tax package is a "big step" toward delivering on the Republican promise of major tax cuts by the end of the year

But Democrats, including Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, are criticizing major portions of the proposal they say could have major, negative effects here in southwestern Virginia.

Republicans celebrated on the floor of the House Thursday afternoon.

"It's been 31 years since we last did this," said House Speaker Paul Ryan. "And it is finally time that we get the general interests of this country to prevail over the special interests in Washington."

The House plan cuts the corporate tax rate, and doubles the standard deduction, but it also drew major criticism for other provisions including the elimination of the deduction for state and local taxes.

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine also highlighted other concerns, including the loss of historic tax credits he says have helped to spur development in southwestern Virginia and across the state.

"I'm a former mayor," kaine told reporters in a teleconference Thursday morning. "And I know how these tax credits were used in Richmond to renovate the historic Maggie Walker High School, in Roanoke to renovate the Patrick Henry Hotel or the old Jefferson High School into a community auditorium... And in my view it's short-sighted to remove a tax credit that has such significant impact on spurring local economies."

Critics of the legislation say most of the tax relief is focused on corporations and the wealthiest Americans, but 6th District Congressman Bob Goodlatte said it will create nearly 25,000 jobs in the 6th District.

The focus now shifts to the U.S. Senate, which has its own tax reform proposal and its own controversies, that will come to a head after the Thanksgiving break.