GOP tax plan will save money, but how much and at what cost?

SALT LAKE CITY -- Taxes will be lower and simpler, say Republicans.

Deficits will be higher and social programs threatened, say Democrats.

Both may be accurate if Republicans manage to pass the tax reform presented by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday.

A family of four earning Utah's median income of $60,000 would save $345 a year in taxes taking just the standard deductions along with their rate lowered from 15 to 12 percent.

It would also be easier to file taxes, says Representative Chris Stewart of Utah's 2nd Congressional District.

"The vast majority of Utahns may be able to do their taxes on something like a postcard-sized piece of paper," Stewart said.

Senator Mike Lee has pushed for doubling the Child Tax Credit from one to two thousand dollars. House leaders raised it to $1,600.

"I'm not satisfied with $1,600," Lee said. "I wanted $2,000; $2,000 is where it needs to be to put more money into the wallets of America's middle class parents and that's what we're after here."

Matthew Weinstein with Voices for Utah Children fears the reform, with expected deficit increases in the trillions of dollars, will lead to severe cuts in social programs for the poor.

"There would be major cuts to food stamps, elimination of the home heating assistance program," said Weinstein, adding that the cuts would disproportionately benefit the wealthiest Americans.

"About 80 percent of the cuts would be go to the wealthiest families, the wealthiest 1 percent, and they would get a tax cut of about $80,000 over the course of a year," Weinstein said.

The non-partisan Tax Foundation has listed the basic components of the new proposal online, here.