California Educators Pan GOP Tax Plan

December 27, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Education experts are speaking out against the Republican tax plan, saying it could lead to less money for schools and hurt working class families.

The bill permanently slashes corporate taxes from 35 to 21 percent and is projected by the Joint Committee on Taxation to drive up the deficit by $1.5 trillion.

A modest tax cut for middle class families will end in 2027.

Jane Hartley, a teacher from Costa Mesa, predicts her students’ families will lose out.

“It makes me livid that the tax cuts for the corporations will still be in place in 10 years, and yet most families’ taxes will have gone back up,” she states. “Meanwhile, we’re saddling our children with even more debt.”

Detractors fear the debt incurred by the GOP tax bill will lead to calls down the line for cuts in Social Security, Medicare and education. (noderog/iStockphotos)

Detractors fear the debt incurred by the GOP tax bill will lead to calls down the line for cuts in Social Security, Medicare and education. (noderog/iStockphotos)

Republican leaders argue that the tax cuts will juice the economy, creating more jobs and prosperity.

Opponents note that it could hurt consumers by driving up insurance premiums – once healthy young people are no longer required to buy coverage.

Hartley argues it will draw students away from public schools by allowing families to save money for private schools tax-free.

The bill also caps the amount of state and local taxes people can deduct off of their federal returns at $10,000.

California Federation of Teachers president Joshua Pechthalt says that will be a disincentive to buy a home and will make people less likely to support additional funds for schools.

“And the ripple effect will be to discourage the local and state taxes that our schools depend on,” he points out. “And so in the long run, our schools are going to be hurt and the top one percent who send their kids to private schools are going to benefit.”

Legislators did back off of two items important to the education community. Graduate students’ tuition waiver money will not be taxed, and teachers still will be able to claim a $200 deduction for school supplies that they buy for their classrooms.


Congress Approves Tax Reform Bill

December 21, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Congress has officially passed the GOP tax bill backed by Pres. Donald Trump, after a procedural error forced the House of Representatives to take a revote early Wednesday to fix differences from the bill approved the 51-48 Tuesday by the Senate.

As expected, the vote ran mostly along party lines, with 224 votes – all Republicans – cast in favor, and 201 votes, including 12 from Republicans, opposing the measure.

Following the vote, Republicans cheered passage of what is the largest tax cut in decades.

The president is expected to sign the legislation into law this week, possibly as early as today. The bill is the first major tax cut since 1986 and the president’s first major legislative victory since taking office 11months ago.

During a celebration Wednesday in the White House Rose Garden, Trump, surrounded by the GOP leadership and the primary architects of the bill, said the effort had been “an incredible experience.”

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives voted to approve the GOP backed bill, but some parts of the bill conflicted with some of the Senate’s procedural rules had to be corrected before it could be sent to the president.

“[On Wednesday], Congress passed a tax reform bill that happens once in a generation. This is the end of a long journey to offer a great tax relief to the American people,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan after the vote was done.

“Now, this historic legislation will be sent to the President’s desk so we can start 2018 with a new tax code,” added Ryan, who has been fighting for a tax reform, such as the one approved on Wednesday, since the beginning of his legislative career.

The bill is fundamentally aimed at cutting taxes on high income earners and corporations, which will see their tax contributions significantly reduced from 35 percent to 21 percent, while generating seven personal income tax brackets.

In addition, according to the calculation of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the tax reform promoted by Republicans will add $1.5 trillion to the national deficit in its first 10 years.

Reducing the deficit has long been a rallying cry among conservative Republicans, many of whom nonetheless voted in favor of the Republican led tax reform plan saying the cuts would fire up corporate investment and hiring, which would in turn lead to substantial growth in the economy and ultimately help reduce the budget deficit.

Among the most controversial aspects, beyond the tax reduction to higher income earners, the legislation also repeals a portion of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, which requires every individual to have health insurance, or to pay a tax penalty.

Corporate giant Comcast announced Wednesday that it will give $1,000 bonuses to over 100,000 of its employees as a result of the passage of tax-cut legislation in Congress, and the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality rules.

Comcast plans to invest $50 billion over the next five years in infrastructure towards its “broadband plant and capacity, and our television, film and theme park offerings,” House Speaker Ryan said in press release.

Ryan said Comcast expects to bring on thousands of new employees because of the investments.

Comcast’s announcement comes following AT&T saying it would offer $1,000 holiday bonuses to roughly 200,000 of its employees, a direct result of added profits the company expects to achieve under Congress’ tax reform legislation.

AT&T’s announcement comes as the company courts support from the Administration for its merger with Time-Warner.

President Trump mentioned AT&T’s news Wednesday at the White House as he celebrated passage of the tax bill with congressional Republicans.

Greenlining Institute President Orson Aguilar said Wednesday that the “’reform’ bill passed by the House and Senate spells disaster for Americans of color and all working families…

“There’s a reason this bill has been called the #GOPTaxScam on social media. It pretends to be a tax cut, but most working families will eventually see their taxes go up. Worse, it selectively targets Americans of color, who already sit on the losing end of a racial wealth gap that this bill will make worse,” Aguilar said in statement released Wednesday.

The Greenlining Institute’s statement criticizes the bill that it says will give “huge, permanent tax cuts to corporations and wealthy individuals but only modest and temporary relief to working families.”

According to Greenlining, African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Latinos, who have for decades lacked health insurance at higher rates than their white counterparts, will see gains made under Obamacare destroyed as “cuts are made to Medicare, Medicaid and other programs essential to working Americans.

“By sabotaging Obamacare, this fake reform puts the health and economic survival of millions of Americans of color at risk,” Aguilar said. “By exploding the deficit, this tax scam sets the stage for devastating cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other programs upon which tens of millions depend.”

EGP Managing Editor Gloria Alvarez contributed to this story.


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