Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., shakes hands with Banner Health volunteer Cal VanderMolen at the Banner Olive Branch Senior Center Wednesday. Franks discussed the Seniors Financial Security Act, legislation that would exclude Social Security benefits from seniors’ taxable income.

Nick Cote/Daily News-Sun

Bill Ross was among dozens who made their way to Banner Olive Branch Senior Center Wednesday to listen to a presentation from Congressman Trent Franks.

“He wants to make it so we don’t pay taxes on our Social Security,” the Sun City resident said. “He doesn’t have a snowball’s chance of getting it passed, but it’s a good idea.”

The legislation in question is the Seniors Financial Security Act, which would exclude Social Security benefits from seniors’ taxable income. Ross’ tone was pessimistic, and in his address to the audience Franks seemed to agree with the sentiment.

“This is something I’ve introduced several times and every time it gets a little more support,” he said. “I’m hoping if there is some rewrite of our tax code this can be included.”

It is a matter of equity, said Franks, who represents District 2 in Congress.

“You are taxed on that money when you make it,” he said. “And then when you go to take it out you have to pay taxes again. There is something especially egregious about that.”

Even as he outlined its importance, Franks was measured in his predictions for the bill’s fate.

“Only time will tell, but we will keep working at it,” he said.

That is all well and good, said Sun Citian Tony D’Amico, but it does not amount to much.

“This country is so far in debt, how does he think he’s going to keep Social Security from getting taxed? He can’t,” D’Amico said. “The government needs money so they’re going to keep taxing. They have to.”

As for the Seniors Financial Security Act, D’Amico said he sees it as temporary appeasement and nothing more.

“I think what I would call this is a bit of mental massage,” he said. “He’s trying to get on our good side by bringing this up, but he knows the bill will never pass.”

Ross added: “I salute (Franks) for a noble effort. But our country is, what, $14 trillion in the red? A bill that eliminates a tax won’t go anywhere.”

Jeff Dempsey may be reached at 623-876-2531 or

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