President Donald Trump late Wednesday took to the trucking industry to stump for his plan to reform the U.S. tax system, telling a crowd made up of fleet managers and truck drivers that his tax reform framework would put more money in the pockets of U.S. workers and be a boon for the U.S. economy.
In the roughly 45-minute address, held at an airport in Harrisburg, Pa., Trump spoke gushingly about the trucking industry and drivers, specifically. “We love our truckers,” Trump said. “These great, great people are our heroes. Nothing gets done in America without the hard-working men and women in the trucking industry.”
The American Trucking Associations organized the event and said they support the White House’s plan to cut taxes, not only for individuals but for businesses, too.
“No one knows America better than America’s truckers,” Trump told the crowd. “Every single day from coast to coast and border to border — where we will have a wall by the way — you see the incredible beauty of [our country]. You see the enduring strength of the American spirit in those truckers.”
Behind Trump on the tarmac where he spoke was a tractor-trailer, the trailer of which sported the message “Win again” in large lettering, with smaller text reading “Lower taxes. Bigger paychecks. More jobs.”
The president’s speech on tax reform stuck closely to that message. Trump promised to not only lower tax rates across the board, but to simplify the system, saying his plan would cut the number of brackets and allow “the majority of families to file on a single piece of paper.”
Lower tax rates, said Trump, would not only save U.S. workers and companies on their annual tax bills, but it would spur economic growth, he argued, which would bring “more freight to deliver and more contracts to sign.”
Trump called on Congress to take up his plan and pass the legislation necessary to enact it. The White House hasn’t unveiled a formal plan, but the framework for its reform push calls for cutting the number of tax brackets from eight to four — zero percent, 12 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent. Trump also said he wants to cut corporate tax rates “from 35 percent all the way down to 20 percent.”
He also said he wanted to do away with the estate tax assessed on the deceased and offer a one-time repatriation tax to try to “bring back trillions and trillions of dollars in wealth parked overseas.”
The plan would also allow companies to write off “100 percent of the cost of new equipment in the year you buy it,” Trump said. “That’s going to be big.”
During the address, Trump highlighted a few of the fleet representatives in attendance, including Kevin Burch, president of the roughly 220-truck Jet Express and chairman of the American Trucking Associations, and Calvin and Steve Ewell, a father and son team who run H.R. Ewell, a roughly 200-truck fleet.
Corporate tax cuts would help Burch’s Jet Express “invest in new equipment and additional training,” said Trump. “He wants to create more American jobs. We are helping him do exactly that.”
Ending the estate tax would ensure that the Ewells’ business stays in the family after Calvin’s death, said Trump. “Trucking runs in their blood,” said Trump. “And Calvin wants to pass [the company] on to his children just as it was passed to him by his father. We’re going to protect small business owners and families so they can run [them] with dedication and love.”
Lastly, Trump said he still hopes to see the passage of a major infrastructure funding package, promising “smooth, beautiful highways — no potholes,” he said. “It will be beautiful again.”