Op-Ed

Rubio and Scott: New federal tax law will help Miami’s low-income working families

The Child Tax Credit is being doubled for 2018 and can be claimed for qualified children under age 17.
The Child Tax Credit is being doubled for 2018 and can be claimed for qualified children under age 17. Getty Images

The new tax law has two provisions that will particularly empower working families. The Child Tax Credit will give American families back more of their own money. The Investing In Opportunity Act has the potential to power an economic renaissance in the communities left behind by the global economy. By working together, we can help restore hope and ensure that the next great American idea isn’t lost because someone did not have the opportunity to share it.

The tax law passed last year cut the taxes of working American families. We made it a priority to expand the per-child tax credit, which directly increases the money working parents get to keep. The child tax credit was doubled, and the changes we secured in late-hour negotiations increased tax cuts for more than 8.6 million Americans making under $50,000 a year.

In addition to immediately letting working American families keep more of their own money, we passed a tax cut that prioritizes areas left behind by the global economy. The Investing In Opportunity Act (IIOA) has the potential to channel hundreds of billions of private-sector dollars to lower-income communities, known as Opportunity Zones, across Florida and the nation.

The new global economy has increased the wealth of many Americans, but destabilized entire regions in our country and left behind millions of workers. Pushing investment to seek out the largest return — regardless of which nation, or area within the nation, it’s in — has deserted workers in our own back yards. Cheaper consumer goods mean very little to a working family with no earned income because the parents can’t find work.

South Florida has experienced this firsthand. Among major American cities, Miami has nearly the lowest median household income, and according to the Florida International University Metropolitan Center, nearly half of the population in neighborhoods like Gladeview and Brownsville are in poverty. Miami is a testament to the uneven prosperity of globally driven rapid growth.

The IIOA changes this by channeling investment into these communities. Investors in a global economy might seek a bigger bottom line shipping jobs to a foreign country, but IIOA cuts taxes on the investment that makes jobs here in America. The global economy is marked by pushing investment to maximize short-term gain, but the IIOA cuts taxes on the investment held for at least 10 years in lower-income areas.

The private investment in these Opportunity Zones can help bring capital to small businesses and local entrepreneurs, rebuild infrastructure, expand high speed internet and any number of other uses. By putting governors, mayors and local communities in charge, the IIOA empowers communities instead of Washington.

We both grew up in families living paycheck to paycheck. In so many of our low-income communities, hope has been lost and, along with it, a vibrant local economy. These neighborhoods are packed with potential, and with this provision the tax law will get America to invest in it.

Friday and Saturday, we will be visiting communities across South Florida to talk about how the Child Tax Credit and IIOA can help. We’ll make stops at the Mexican American Council in Homestead, the Overtown Youth Center in Miami, the Urban League, and Miami Children’s Initiative. At each stop we’ll hear from families and their children about the unique needs of their communities, and how new opportunities for investment can give everyone a shot at the American Dream.

Marco Rubio represents Florida and Tim Scott represents South Carolina in the U.S. Senate. Both are Republicans.

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott joined Sen. Marco Rubio in Miami Friday to talk about how the country's new tax code includes a provision that is intended to steer corporate money into struggling neighborhoods.



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