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Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) arrives to the U.S. Capitol Building

Thom Tillis has big tax plans for 2025

He’s a newcomer to the Senate Finance Committee but he’s carved out a role as a strong pro-business voice with big ideas about tax reform.

You guessed it, we’re talking about Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.). We sat down with the North Carolina Republican for the second installment of our Q&A series on the expiring Trump tax cuts.

For our Q&A’s, we’re asking key tax writers similar questions and selecting a few to spotlight each time. This interview was edited for length and clarity.

North Carolina pitch: Tillis told us that his priority next year will be crafting tax policies like North Carolina passed in 2013. That included corporate and individual income tax rate cuts and a broader base for sales taxes. But Tillis added that’s harder to do at the federal level.

Here’s where our conversation went from there.

Q: So even though you’re not sure it can get done, you want to see the tax changes made in your state be part of what Republicans discuss?

Tillis: We need to maybe at least start socializing it so that at some point if the timing’s right, we could.

Now the other thing I think next year would be helpful is under the scenario where we run the table and we have control of Congress and the White House, I don’t think we should necessarily march right into reconciliation before we at least give Democrats an opportunity to have a discussion about some of the tax measures that can be permanently authorized versus… some of the constraints that we have within reconciliation.

It’s one of the reasons why I opposed the [Wyden-Smith tax bill] this year. Because I think the child tax credit is one priority that Democrats have that maybe could be used as a way to get them to the table and talk about permanent tax provisions… for some of the ones that are expiring next year.

Q: If this is a bipartisan negotiation next year, what do you think would be the most difficult thing to find agreement on?

Tillis: Corporate tax [rates]. We’ve got a mentality here among liberals that it’s corporate greed and you can just tax corporations. The last time I checked or the last time I advised clients, when their tax burden goes up they either exit a customer base that’s no longer profitable or they charge more for it.

Q: How are you talking to voters about the upcoming tax debate and do you think it will be a factor in this election?

Tillis: I think everybody needs to be educated on why you cut business taxes, why you cut corporate taxes. And they have to understand that you can’t reduce the tax burden on individuals unless you reduce the tax burden on businesses.

And if you can only do one, you have to reduce the tax burden on businesses because those businesses pay incomes, they pay salaries [and] they drive job creation. So you’ve got to go out and explain how you have to have a thriving business community, you have to have a thriving economy in order to fund the individual income tax.

One thing to note: Much of Tillis’ party is right there with him on the corporate rate, but the issue is growing trickier even for some Republicans. We wrote more about that in our Sunday Vault.

— Laura Weiss

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