Former teacher, now U.S. Rep., pushes for House vote on keeping middle-class tax cut


by Félix Pérez

A high school teacher and coach in Mankato, Minn., for 17 years until he was elected to Congress in 2006, Tim Walz took a stand for middle class families this week when he filed a petition in the U.S. House of Representatives to force a vote this month on keeping tax rates from increasing for 98 percent of families in 2013.

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               Cong. Tim Walz

“If we fail to act . . . , middle class families will see their income taxes go up by $2,000. No one wants it, the economy doesn’t need it. The Senate’s already passed a bill. The president said he would sign it today. It can be done now,” said Rep. Walz.

Falls Church, Va., high school teacher Tiffany Santana and her family would be one of millions hit by a higher tax bill if Congress fails to act. President Barack Obama paid a visit yesterday to Santana, who lives with her husband, 6-year-old son and parents. Santana was chosen because she wrote to the White House about what a $2,200 tax increase would mean for her family.

“Real, everyday people know what $2,000 means to their lives, to their ability to feed their children, to their ability to send their children to school,” said Santana.

“Extending the tax cuts for the middle class — I think it’s just fair,” added Santana. “We’ve done our part, and now it’s time for Congress to step up to the plate and do its part.”

The importance of keeping the middle-class tax cuts in place is central to the intense congressional debate surrounding the fiscal cliff, with Republicans insisting they will not vote to keep the tax cuts unless the 2 percent of people making more than $250,000 are included.

Mary Kusler, director of Government Relations for the National Education Association, said in a letter to the House, “Extending tax cuts immediately for every family making under $250,000 a year will help 98 percent of all Americans and 97 percent of small businesses. And it will give an essential boost to the economy by ensuring that families have more money to spend on things like clothes, cars, furniture, and food. In turn, this spending will generate greater profit for businesses and will increase consumer demand, leading businesses to invest and hire more workers.”

Walz’s petition requires 218 signatures to bring it the House floor for a vote. Congress has until Christmas Eve to act.

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