Davidson says GOP tax cuts benefiting middle class; Democratic opponent calls them ‘a scam’

Republican tax cuts have benefited middle class workers by boosting job opportunities and raising wages, U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson said in Springfield on Friday, but he also raised concerns about whether tariffs are an effective means to affect China’s trade policies.

Davidson, R-Troy, spoke to several area business leaders at a legislative update for the Chamber of Greater Springfield. He represents Ohio’s 8th Congressional District, which includes Clark County.

The federal lawmaker said he agreed with President Donald Trump that improvements are needed to trade agreements but said he’s concerned the tariffs imposed by the administration are harming Ohio businesses.

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“Tariffs are taxes,” Davidson said. “We essentially raised the taxes on everything in America made out of metal. We didn’t raise the tax on imported things that come into the United States made of metal, so if you have a company that makes things out of metal in the U.S., your price for inputs went up by roughly 33 percent.”

Vanessa Enoch, a Democrat from West Chester, is challenging Davidson in November to represent the district. She said Davidson didn’t speak out forcefully against the tariffs as they were being put in place.

“It speaks volumes to the fact that he was not willing to advocate for this district,” Enoch said.

The U.S. is engaged in a trade dispute with China, and the two countries have already slapped billions of dollars in tariffs on goods, with the possibility the dispute could escalate. The Trump administration has argued the tariffs are one tool to address what proponents have argued is a trade imbalance with China. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, also has supported the tariffs.

In addition, tariffs have been placed on shipments of steel and aluminum from countries like Canada and the European Union earlier this spring. The Springfield News-Sun reported earlier this year that it has led to higher prices on raw materials for some Clark County businesses.

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Davidson argued the administration should take a more targeted approach to influence trade practices overseas.

“I’ve been an advocate for a path to use sanctions instead of tariffs,” Davidson said.

Davidson also argued a roughly $1.5 trillion tax cut approved by Congress last year has fueled economic growth and benefited workers by providing employers more incentives to add jobs and boost wages. Democrats have criticized the tax law as a giveaway to the rich that will significantly add to the federal deficit over the next decade.

Enoch said the intent of the tax cuts was to benefit businesses, not average families. She said along with providing the majority of benefits to the wealthy, it relies on the assumption that the benefits will then trickle down to workers.

“I believe the tax cut is a scam and it’s intended to do the same thing Davidson’s policies are intended to do and that’s benefit the wealthy,” she said.

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Davidson conceded wealthy individuals receive a larger share of the benefits but said they also pay a greater share of taxes, and said the reform was overdue.

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“The trouble isn’t that the economy isn’t growing or that revenue to the federal government isn’t growing,” Davidson said. “The trouble is spending is growing at more than double the rate.”

Congress will face several challenges after next month’s elections. Davidson said a continuing resolution to fund the federal government expires on Dec. 7, so lawmakers need to work to pass a spending bill shortly after the election. If infrastructure isn’t included in that legislation, Davidson said he expects it to be a topic early next year.

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