Sullivan defends tax cuts, disputes cost

Protestors waited on the Capitol lawn for the Senate vote on taxes. Photo: Liz Ruskin.

Sen. Dan Sullivan on Thursday ardently defended the Senate tax cut bill, saying the pending bill won’t add as much to the national debt as projected.

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Sullivan told reporters he believes the economy – specifically, the growth rate of the Gross Domestic Product – will do better than what the Congressional Budget Office and other analysts predict.

“The Obama administration left saying ‘Hey, we did as good as we could. One and a half (or) two percent. That’s the new normal. That’s America hitting on all cylinders,'” Sullivan said, referring to GDP growth. “I fundamentally reject that, and all kinds of economists do.”

Sullivan says he’s met with dozens of business people and economists in the three years he’s been a senator, and he says he asks all of them about GDP growth.

“And almost every single person I’ve asked, smart people, have said, ‘Of course we believe we can get back to 3 percent growth,'” Sullivan said.

Sullivan says he doesn’t believe the economists who predict weaker growth.

And look, if we’re destined to grow at one and a half percent, we’re going to have enormous challenges over the next 10 years,” Sullivan said.

As Sullivan spoke, another nonpartisan report, this one by the Joint Committee on Taxation, was making the rounds. It concludes the tax cuts won’t fuel enough growth to pay for themselves and would increase budget deficits by $1 trillion. The Joint Committee acts as a referee for the Senate on tax matters, and the report slowed momentum on the tax bill Thursday. As of Friday afternoon, Senate leaders were still working to revise the bill, in part to address concerns about the deficit.

In addition to tax cuts, Sullivan said it will take permitting reform and a military build-up in Alaska to boost GDP growth.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at Read more about Liz here.

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