Pennsylvania may play a central part in the debate over the Border Adjustment Tax (BAT), a central part of President Donald Trump and House Republican’s tax reform plan. The BAT places a 20% tax on all goods imported into the United States.
The BAT is a point of contention between Trump’s economic nationalism, and the free market beliefs of many mainstream Republicans. There is some contention between Trump and the House GOP plan. While the House GOP has a specific number, Trump wants to use the BAT to punish specific countries.
Representatives Pat Meehan (R-Delaware) and Mike Kelly (R-Butler) both sit on the powerful Ways and Means Committee that will first hear the tax proposal. Conservative groups, including Americans for Prosperity (AFP), that helped propel many of these Congressmen into office in 2010 have come out against the tax.
“Pennsylvania’s House delegation should publicly denounce a misguided tax policy that threatens Pennsylvania families with higher prices and workers with less opportunity and higher unemployment,” said Beth Anne Mumford Pennsylvania State Director at AFP during an Americans for Affordable Products press conference.
The tax would tax all imports into the United States, while not taxing exports out of the country. This would include products bought directly by consumers, and those bought by American businesses.
“I’m hoping that there may be an ability to consider the methods of recognizing that a commodity can only be purchased overseas, maybe a precious metal, oil that in its natural state that helps support manufacturing jobs here,” Meehan told Bloomberg.
“If it hurts American consumers, it doesn’t make sense for me,” Kelly also told Bloomberg.
AFP is the political arm of the conservative, free market movement supported by the Koch Brothers. The Kochs have had a contentious relationship with Trump, stemming from issues like this one.