EVERETT — House Speaker Paul Ryan visited Boeing to talk tax reform in a town hall with employees.
But he also faced questions about President Trump.
Boeing said the employees were volunteers and the questions were unscreened.
For at least one questioner, President's Trump's behavior was a top issue.
“How do you see yourself personally influencing, and are you confident that you can influence, the president?” she asked.
“It's a day-by-day deal. I'm kind of joking,” Ryan said. “First, you control your own actions, and you lead by example.”
But while Trump wavered on condemning the neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Ryan did not.
“We must always, every single time, stand up and repudiate it and condemn it, unequivocally. Every time.,” he said.
Before the town hall, Ryan toured the plant's assembly line.
He noted that Boeing's competition is based overseas, where corporate taxes are lower. So he wants to cut U.S. corporate taxes from 35 percent to 20 percent. He was asked how he would ensure that the money Boeing saves will stay within Boeing communities and the U.S.
“You're better off manufacturing overseas and importing it into the country under our current tax code, so what we are trying to do is to completely remove that disincentive,” Ryan said.”
Workers also asked about individual taxes, for which Ryan plans to simplify the tax laws.
Ryan said he would preserve some deductions.
“Owning a home, donating to a charity, saving for retirement,” he said.
When asked about Ryan’s answer on individual taxes, Boeing worker Krupel Desai said, “It was actually pretty good. I'm a hardcore Democrat, I'll be honest, but it was a pretty good answer.”
It didn't come up, but reportedly the Ryan plan scraps the sales tax deduction for Washington state. But that could be offset by his plan to double the standard deduction that most families take.
A small number of people protested Ryan's visit. They noted that Boeing has laid off thousands of employees, despite big tax breaks, and that, in some recent years, Boeing hasn't paid federal taxes at all.
Ryan said he's been working on this tax reform plan for two years and he wants to pass it by the end of this year.
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