House passes tax bill that burdens educators, students, families to benefit wealthy

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by Félix Pérez

The US House of Representatives passed a GOP tax bill this afternoon without a single Democratic vote. Hailed by Republican leaders as a “middle class tax cut,” the plan appears to be anything but.

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Supported by President Trump, the House tax plan provides more than 80 percent of its overall cuts to corporations, business owners and wealthy families who are subject to the federal estate tax, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress’s nonpartisan tax analysis arm. The Tax Policy Center found that after the tax plan has taken full effect in 2027, the top 1 percent of earners (those with incomes above $389,436) will get an average cut of $1,022,120, while the middle 20 percent will get an average cut of $420.

Utah middle school teacher Lily Eskelsen García said the tax plan was based on the’ “ill-conceived and misguided priorities of Republican leaders.” Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association, continued:

Hypocrisy is at the heart of the tax plan approved today by the U.S. House of Representatives. . .  Repeatedly, their plan takes from working families to pay for massive tax giveaways to corporations and the wealthy: it eliminates the state and local deduction for people but keeps it for corporations. It eliminates the educator tax deduction for school supplies but allows corporations to continue to claim deductions for supplies they purchase. It eliminates the student loan deduction but opens a new loophole for wealthy families to sock away money to pay for private school tuition.

It is irresponsible to put funding for 250,000 education jobs at risk and cuts to public education. It is outrageous to expand education tax loopholes for wealthy families to stash away money for private school. Make no mistake: this poorly veiled and risky voucher program will only benefit those who can already afford private school tuition at the expense of our students and neighborhood public schools – where nine out of 10 children attend.

 

Among other things, the $1.5 trillion House GOP tax plan:

  • Eliminates $250 deduction teachers can claim for classroom supplies they purchase. “Two hundred and fifty dollars is a percentage of what most teachers are pulling out of their pocket,” said Eskelsen García.
  • Gets rid of most of the state and local tax deductions, which would hollow out state and local revenues that support public education and would risk funding for nearly 250,000 education jobs.
  • Kills the $2,500 deduction for student loan interest for low and middle income Americans. Graduate students who get tuition waivers because they teach or do research would now have to pay income tax on the waiver.
  • Does away with the adoption credit, which enables taxpayers to claim a credit of $13,570 per eligible child.

At a rally yesterday on Capitol Hill, Eskelsen García took aim at the House plan’s elimination of the teacher tax deduction. “We will not be silenced. For your kids back home, for your nieces and nephews, for the kids in your lives, this is biggest civics lesson of our time. There is a right answer, and there is a wrong answer. [GOP leaders] did not do their homework. We will send it back with a great big ‘No.’ ”

All eyes are now on the Senate, where the Finance Committee is debating its own version of the bill. If the Senate passes its bill, the differences in the House and Senate version must be reconciled by a committee with members from both chambers. Republican leaders and Trump want a bill to sign by Christmas.

Reader Comments

  1. Please stand against this backwards tax plan and stick up for the middle class, educators, and most importantly, our students.

  2. I am sorry but getting mad at teachers is really the last thing your should be doing! Trump supporters especially those in the low to middle income brackets should be MAD at Trump for his “idiocracy” and lies. He said he was going to change America and he certainly has, but only in the direction of big business, big money, and hatred towards others. This country is going backwards and with all the Republicans in Congress we are going to continue this spiral into a wormhole that will be hard to get out of. I think innocent people who really thought Trump would change things have been sorely defeated and although I didn’t vote for him I am greatly worried about the aftermath of our governments actions for my own family and the future generations to come!

    As Americans each one of us is bigger than this!!!! We need to stand against it. If anyone has ideas on how we can support the “squashing” of this bill and others like it please post!

  3. Secretary DeVos has no knowledge, understanding or compassion for the handicapped and Public Law 94-142 (Education of All Handicapped). She hates public education and wants to abolish taxpayer support for it by giving taxpayer money in the form of vouchers for parents to send their children to private and religious schools or to cyber or private, for profit charter schools which don’t have to meet outcome standards like regular public schools do.

  4. While depriving public education and educators of needed help, there’s no guarantee that any of these tax cuts that benefit mostly the rich will trickle down in the form of better jobs and wages to the rest of Americans. As past history shows, they never have and probably never will. President Reagan tried it, states like Kansas have tried it. The outcome has been a shortfall in tax revenue and huge deficits. Inevitably, this leads to calls for more cuts in education and social programs.

    It’s time to stop this nonsense. The wealthy should pay their fair share. Corps. already pay an effective avg. rate of only 18% by employing clever loopholes. Companies like GE pay no federal income tax whatsoever. This plan is nothing but a holiday gift wrapped up and given to GOP donors. They need a tax cut about as much as a bloated tick needs a blood transfusion.

  5. And their grand plan also eliminates the medical deduction. For families who are dealing with catastrophic medical costs for loved ones suffering from cancer or dementia, for example, these expenses can be enormous. Now the Republicans want to tax money being spent on medical care?! Shame on them!

    Oddly, the media have made very little mention of this hard-hearted provision.

  6. It’s important to call your senators now and let your voices be heard. More important, if your students’ educations, and your own jobs, are important to you, you must vote the politicians who support it out of office!

  7. With this, as with so many other issues with this administration, I am reminded of the story, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, whereby stating a falsehood makes it true. I propose that everyone with concerns purchase a copy of the children’s story and send it to members of Congress, as well as the administration. Supporting these “untruths” is just so appalling in this country.

  8. Many people who vote for the elected officials are teachers. Educated enough to eliminate benefits that come with teaching. We are stupid people. This is our fault. Approximately 90+% of our children attend public schools. We are at fault for this nightmare. Look in the mirror.
    Angry at teachers who just don’t get it!!

  9. I protest the passing of the tax bill by the House. It will benefit only the wealthiest Americans and corporations. Trickle down economics doesn’t NOT work. It didn’t work during the Reagan Administration, and it ruined the 2009 economy following the Bush tax cuts.

  10. I think you are wrong on a lot of issues on this tax bill. I feel most people will benefit, and have more discretionary income for their families. Yes, there are some people who have some higher taxes as a result. They are probably in the upper middle class socioeconomic status. If they do away with the $250 deduction for teachers would it be more than offset with more income and less taxes? I also think lowering the corporate tax will help drive the economy, which usually benefits everyone. Even though as a 34 year teaching veteran, and retired for 6 years, I am against your proposal because this tax plan will benefit more people and stimulate our economy. Thanks.

    1. Tom – The top 1% already have 90% of the accumulated wealth of the bottom 50% and thanks to a booming stock market corps. are flush with cash. So where is the evidence of trickle down to the rest of us from that concentration of wealth at the top? I haven’t seen it. Have you? In the meantime, the rich have become richer and the middle class has shrunk.

      Sadly, the GOP is suggesting we give the wealthiest even more by lowering the corporate rate, eliminating the alternate minimum and estate taxes, and installing a tax break called the “pass through” provision. All these things benefit the ultra rich. If the GOP was really interested in helping people in the middle, investments would be made in education and infrastructure. THOSE are the things that reduce income inequality, stimulate your middle class growth, and preserve democracy. The other things DON’T help.

  11. Get MSNBC to publicize a guide to revise everyones 2016 tax returns using the House and Senate proposed taxes. I did revise my 2016 taxes using the house proposed tax and great news!!!! I will pay about $3000 more in taxes. I’m a 77 yr old retiree and my senior citizen wife is still working and we could use every penny in our later years. So, I wish one of the major news stations would do this in a hurry before the Senate passes their bill. This could be done within a week if they want to stop this LIE from the president.

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