- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 14, 2017

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin took his pitch for tax reform to Ohio on Tuesday, saying the plan is “all about creating economic growth.”

At a moderated lunch forum hosted by the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, Mnuchin said President Donald Trump wants to deliver a middle-income tax cut and to make the tax code that’s simpler and more internationally competitive - with the end goal of boosting the overall American economy.

“This is all about don’t send it back to Washington, put it back in the economy,” he said.

Both the House and Senate bills have been promoted as needed relief for the middle class. They would deeply cut corporate taxes, double the standard deduction used by most Americans, and limit or repeal the federal deduction for state and local property, income and sales taxes.

Mnuchin spoke for about half an hour, taking a handful of questions from the floor. He said both chambers agree on the basic principles of the bill.

“Our objective is twofold,” Mnuchin said. “One is to go from a worldwide system to a territorial system, and bring down the rate. We think 20 percent is the right rate, we think it’s a very, very competitive rate.”

Outside the event, Ohio Democratic Chairman David Pepper called the Republican plan “one more gigantic experiment in trickle-down economics that Ohioans know just simply doesn’t work.”

Pepper, whose party is out of power at every level of Ohio government, said, “It’s honestly been a catastrophe for communities across the state, and it hasn’t done anything to lift our middle-class families in terms of jobs.”

Under Republican Gov. John Kasich, Ohio has recovered virtually all the jobs it lost during the national Recession. But Pepper said the state’s growth hasn’t kept pace with the nation and that wages continue to lag.

About two dozen people demonstrated outside Tuesday’s event. They brandished signs saying, “No Tax Cut for Wealthy,” and “Keep the Estate Tax.”

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