While the final form of the tax bill under consideration in the Senate isn’t entirely clear — to cobble together the necessary votes, a slew of amendments and modifications were introduced Friday — there are a few things that we know will be broadly true. Corporations will get big tax cuts. There will be a lot of carve-outs for various interest groups. And the wealthy will see more of a cut than the middle class.
We know that because multiple independent groups, including two affiliated with Congress itself, have told us so. The Joint Committee on Taxation, for example, figures that nearly every household making $75,000 or more a year will see a cut of at least $100 by 2019, compared with only about half of households earning less than that amount. By 2027, after the income tax cuts expire, wealthier households are still much more likely to see substantial savings than are poorer households.
There’s a detail to all of this that’s been lost, though. There are 100 people in Congress who will soon decide whether to move this bill forward: the 100 members of the U.S. Senate. The vote will mostly fall along partisan lines, it seems, but the Senate is united in one respect: They all make enough to see the biggest income tax benefits.
The base salary for a senator is $174,000 a year, with senators in leadership positions making slightly more. What’s more, senators are also allowed to earn limited outside income, which inflates that total even more. The Center for Responsive Politics gathers data on outside income (including income from spouses), the most recent data for which is from 2015 filings. (That means it excludes some new senators.)
So here’s what we did. We took that data and overlaid it with data from the JCT indicating how likely it was that households at various income levels would see tax cuts or increases every two years over the next decade. Then we made a little tool allowing you to put in your household income and compare it with the senators’. (The percentages on the tool below indicate how many households in the income ranges for you and the senator will see tax cuts. Note that the senators are in order of state.)
Unless you’ve got a pretty substantial salary, the odds are good that your senator (or whichever senator with whom you compared yourself) will stand a better chance of seeing a tax cut over the next 10 years.
It’s unlikely that this is why those senators support the bill, of course. After all, many Democrats oppose it, despite being in the income group that would see more benefit. Instead, those who support it do so because they think it’s of political benefit to their constituents, donors or party. Constituents can use our tool to see whether they agree.