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.