Congressman Hank Johnson

Representing the 4th District of Georgia

GOP Tax Scam Bad for Georgians (The Huffington Post)

December 19, 2017
Editorial
Plan Would Raises Taxes on Millions of Hard-Working Families

Recently, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy published damning statistics on the Ryan-McConnell tax plan. The numbers show that if the package is approved by Congress, more than half a million working class Georgians will see their taxes raised an average of $670 by 2027.

Despite President Trump’s assurance that he will not attack the middle class, the Ryan-McConnell tax bill will heavily burden Georgia’s working and middle-income families. President Trump published four broad goals for reforming the tax code, citing bolstering the economy, simplifying the tax code for families, allowing American workers to keep more of their paycheck, and minimizing any increase in the deficit as his main objectives.

But the Ryan-McConnell plan, developed behind closed doors without any public hearings, will not accomplish any of these goals.

This tax bill package as written mostly benefits the extremely wealthy. It fails to account for a $2.4 trillion-federal revenue loss over the next decade – a loss created by giving tax cuts to the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans – and it fails to uplift the very families that Trump promised “would never be forgotten again.”

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center confirmed the pitfalls of this framework when they reported that the Ryan-McConnell tax bill would raise taxes on 47 million Americans, significantly increase the deficit ($1.7 trillion in the House version of the bill), and slow the economy long term. When GOP politicians claim that their tax cuts help the average American, they are lying.

As the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute notes, the middle income and working people in Georgia would see minimal gains, and could expect an average annual tax cut of $260 in the short term. A tax cut of $260 seems not so bad until it’s revealed that the richest 1 percent of Georgians could expect an annual tax cut of $83,000, and millionaires could receive as much as $131,000.

Last week, I received a letter from my alma mater – specifically Clark Atlanta University President Dr. Ronald Johnson. He indicated that the Ryan-McConnell tax bill eliminates important benefits such as employer-provided education assistance, the student loan interest deduction, and tuition remission benefits, to name just a few.

“These benefits assist students in paying for college and repaying loans, and help Clark Atlanta University remain healthy and competitive,” he wrote. “The elimination of the student loan interest deduction would affect our most recent graduates just when they are trying to get on their feet. The federal government already makes a profit on the loans they provide to both students and parents, so there is no need to further increase the federal profit margin.”

I agree.

The central failure of the Ryan-McConnell framework lies in its premise. The GOP believes that cutting taxes for corporations and wealthy Americans will somehow create more jobs. This is false. We know that wealth does not trickle down, especially when the holders of that wealth have no incentive or directive to contribute their fair share.

The Ryan-McConnell tax framework also argues that cutting corporate taxes will stop companies from doing business abroad and create more jobs in the United States. In reality, these cuts will simply allow companies who have saved billions overseas by keeping profits in offshore accounts and avoiding taxes to bring this money to the United States with a special tax holiday.

The proposed tax cuts will also have detrimental effects on Medicare and Medicaid; programs that serve 44 million and 70 million Americans respectively, and are desperately needed in Georgia and across our nation.

What Republicans failed to cut in their healthcare reform attempts, they’re now trying to destroy with tax breaks for the wealthy that will slash budgets of these federal programs.

As lawmakers, we can agree that tax reform is needed “bigly” in our country, but I will never support legislation that disproportionately harms the middle class by slashing taxes for the wealthy, exploding the deficit, and gutting public programs.

The Ryan-McConnell plan reveals the true nature of the GOP -- they legislate to please a constituency of wealthy Americans.

Georgia can’t afford it. America can’t afford it. And unless this plan is significantly improved through amendments, I plan to vote against it.

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9/12/2019 530 H.R.1146 Aye
9/12/2019 529 H.R.1146 Nay
9/12/2019 528 H.R.1146 No
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9/12/2019 526 H.R.1146 No