Op-Eds

Nov 27 2017

LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR: Tax reform aims to be family-friendly

By U.S. Senator Deb Fischer

It doesn’t matter if you are in the heart of Lincoln or a small town in Cherry County, families are the building blocks of Nebraska. At the core of every community are parents, grandparents, and caregivers working hard to provide for their loved ones and raise the next generation.

Policies that will lead Nebraska families to success and prosperity are a top priority for me in the U.S. Senate. As Congress moves closer to passing comprehensive tax reform, I’m optimistic about several opportunities to provide relief for middle-class families.

The workforce of today looks different from the last time Congress updated the tax code in 1986. This is partly because women’s participation in the workforce has been steadily increasing over the years. In fact, it’s almost doubled since World War II.

Because of this shift, 21st-century workers face unique challenges as they care for children and elderly relatives. The life of someone doing “double duty” as a breadwinner and a caregiver is often hectic and stressful.

For four years, I’ve been working to address this problem, and I’m pleased to report we are finally making headway.

Included in the tax reform bill recently approved by the Senate Finance Committee is my paid family leave plan, the Strong Families Act. If enacted, this proposal would be the first national paid family leave policy in U.S. history.

Workers could take an hour, a day or up to 12 weeks off to care for a sick child, check on an elderly parent or take maternity or paternity leave. Businesses offering the leave would receive a tax credit as big as 25 percent of the wages paid to those employees. There’s also a cap on the yearly pay one can make to qualify, targeting access to those who really need it. Typically, that’s lower-to-middle income and hourly employees.

Click here to read the full article in the Lincoln Journal Star