U.S. House pushes tax scam forward—still time to block it

From the national AFT office yesterday we received the report and call to action copied below after H.R. 1, the bait-and-switch federal tax overhaul, passed its first hurdle in the U.S. House. All Texas Republicans in the House voted for it, though 13 of their party colleagues from other states voted against. All Texas Democrats in the House voted no. The measure now goes to the U.S. Senate, where its chances are uncertain.

Here’s the lowdown from AFT President Randi Weingarten:

Donald Trump and the GOP leadership are laser-focused on pushing through their so-called tax reform plan. I call it their “tax scam.” And today, they took their first step when the House voted 227-205 to pass the bill.

Don’t be fooled by their rhetoric. We know that elections have consequences, but as I write this, most congressional Republicans are siding with big business, big-time, at the expense of America’s hardworking working- and middle-class families.

What’s in their plan? Well, if you listen to them, they will sometimes tell you this is the greatest plan ever devised and that it will give huge tax breaks to working families. Other times, even stalwarts like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell will admit that this is going to raise the taxes of a large number of middle-class families.

They must have looked at the research. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, the Senate tax bill, over a decade, will cut taxes for the wealthy and hike taxes on families earning less than $75,000. Tax hikes for households earning $10,000 to $30,000 would start in 2021 and grow sharply from there. And an analysis by Americans Against Double Taxation found that under the House bill, many middle-class homeowners will see their taxes go up as much as $6,167 next year.

Your members of Congress need to hear from you. Write them now and tell them to oppose the GOP tax scam.

Who loses under their bill? The middle class.

  • If you’re a middle-class family, your taxes will go up—an average of $6,000.
  • If you’re a middle-class family, your property values will go down; and you’re going to lose your deduction for state and local taxes—almost half of which goes to services like local public schools, police departments and firefighters.
  • If you are a teacher, you will lose your ability to deduct the money you spend on classroom supplies.
  • If you have kids in college, or have student loans, your taxes will go up because you won’t be able to deduct the interest anymore.
  • If you’re a grad student, your taxes could go up because your waived tuition will be treated as taxable income.
  • If you or anyone in your family is sick, your taxes will go up because you can’t deduct medical expenses.

And yesterday, the Senate announced that while they’re raising your taxes, they’re also including a repeal of the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act. This would raise health-care premiums by 10 percent and would also increase the number of Americans without insurance by 13 million.

Our elected officials should be governing for their constituents, not their wealthy donors. Send them a message and tell them to oppose this tax scam.  

So, who gets all the benefits that you’re footing the bill for? Big corporations and the wealthy, like the Koch brothers, the DeVos family and, we think, Donald Trump—though he has never released his tax returns so we can’t be sure. And, while benefits for individuals in the bill are temporary, the tax breaks for corporations are permanent.

Trump campaigned as a populist but is governing for the top 1 percent. It’s not just that the Republicans’ tax bill is a massive giveaway to the wealthy and big corporations that don’t need it—it’s that they’re doing it at your expense. 

We have very little time to fight back against this attack on the middle class. Write your members of Congress now.

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