Tax reform planner, gubernatorial candidate Diane Black campaigns in Johnson City

Zach Vance • Dec 4, 2017 at 10:55 PM

A primary architect of the Republicans’ comprehensive tax reform bill, U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-6th, had plenty to discuss at Monday’s Washington County Republican Women meeting, where she continued to campaign to become Tennessee’s next governor. 

As the country’s first woman to chair the important House Budget Committee, Black garnered plenty of national attention for her contributions to the 2018 budget, which cleared the path for reforming the federal tax code.  

In October, President Donald Trump praised Black’s accomplishments in an Oct. 27 tweet stating, “Diane Black, the highly respected House Budget Committee Chairwoman, did a GREAT job in passing Budget, setting up big Tax Cuts.”

Before speaking to the group, Black said she was relieved the Senate’s tax-reform bill passed over the weekend. She also hinted that House Speaker Paul Ryan might select her to serve on the legislative conference committee responsible for sorting out the differences between the Senate and House versions. 

“They’ll choose a certain number of Republicans and a certain number of Democrats, but I have an indication that I may be chosen because of being the chairman of the (House) Budget Committee and the fact that the budget really was the golden key to opening the tax reform,” Black said. “So I have a good indication that I may have the privilege of serving on that conference committee.” 

One major difference between the two tax-reform bills is the Senate version sunsets individual tax breaks in 2025, while the House version made its individual tax breaks permanent, a provision Black intends to lobby for if she is nominated to the conference. 

“I think our bill gives people certainty in both the business side and individual side, and we’ll be pushing for that measure to be our bill rather than the Senate bill,” Black said. 

While campaigning across the state, Black said she believes most Tennesseans will appreciate having a simplified tax code. 

“At least what I’m hearing from people on both the business side and also on the individual side is that they know the tax code has been so complicated and so difficult to do that they want something that’s simpler,” Black said. 

“The fact (is) that we have a plan where 95 percent of the Tennesseans will be able to file their taxes on a single postcard size. In addition to that, businesses are pleased that they will see a reduction in their tax burden, especially small businesses.”

Citing “independent sources,”  Black estimated the bill will provide middle-income Tennesseans with about $1,200 in tax relief, while also creating about 18,000 jobs statewide. 

Black touted her achievements, as well as experience, in Washington, D.C., as rationale for voters to choose her as Tennessee’s first woman governor. 

“I think one of the things that is important for people to know is that I have experience. I have experience at the state and the federal level,” the 66-year-old said. “I can take both of those and marry them. I feel as though I could be a good representative (and) a good governor of this state.”

Dating back to 1998, Black gradually climbed the proverbial political ladder, first serving as a state representative, then a state senator and now a Congresswoman.

Originally born in Maryland, Black earned a nursing degree from Belmont University and worked as a registered nurse through the late 1990s until she was elected to state office. 

“I can point back to things, especially in the state here as being a nurse and some of the legislation that I carried that was important to the state, particularly pro-life. I passed the pro-life legislation that really is the basis for all other pro-life legislation that’s come to the state,” Black said. 

Black’s long list of pro-life accomplishments include sponsoring legislation that defunded Planned Parenthood and passing the Conscience Protection Act. 

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