by Félix Pérez
The tax bill expected to come up for a vote today in the Senate will hurt students, educators and middle class families, US Sen. Bob Casey told thousands of Pennsylvania educators participating in a tele-town hall.
“Some of the people who will be hurt the most by this tax bill will be the children in our public schools and the teachers and education support personnel who help them,” said Casey.
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Found by Congress’s own nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation to favor the wealthy and corporations overwhelmingly at the expense of working families, students and educators, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has provision after provision that raise taxes on 82 million middle class families while doling out generous tax cuts for the top 1 percent. The bill:
- Eliminates the state and local tax deduction, which could cut education funding by $370 billion over the next 10 years, and put as many as 370,000 educator jobs at risk. It even includes a provision that will cut Medicaid and take health insurance away from millions of people. In Pennsylvania alone, the jobs of more than 12,000 educators are in jeopardy.
- Partially repeals the Affordable Care Act, leaving 13 million Americans uninsured and resulting in drastic spikes in insurance premiums.
- Allows corporations to continue claiming the state and local tax deduction while taking it away from individuals and families.
- Targets 79 percent of its net tax cuts to businesses and the wealthiest estates.
Utah elementary school teacher Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association, said, “This is a Republican leadership tax plan that gives huge tax cuts to the very rich and the very big corporations, and they pay for it by putting working families, including those of educators, at risk of paying higher taxes.”
The elimination of the State and Local Tax deduction would result in Pennsylvania public schools losing $1.5 billion in funding in 2018 and more than $15 billion in 10 years. “We need this critical funding. Our students cannot afford to go without it,” said Dolores McCracken, a middle school paraprofessional and president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association.
Should the Senate tax bill pass, it will go to a House-Senate committee to reconcile it with the House version. Senate GOP leaders and President Trump want to have a bill signed before they adjourn for the holidays.
But as Senator Casey, Eskelsen García and McCracken agreed, now is the time to encourage everybody to call their members of Congress, even if they’ve done so already. “This bill is obscene in the worst way, and it’s a giveaway on steroids to the super-wealthy,” said Casey.