November 16, 2017

House approves big bad tax bill

Source: NYSUT Communications
rally
Caption: NYSUT members and allies rallied across the state against the tax bill, including at this event held outside the office of Republican Congressman John Faso (R-Kinderhook), who voted "no" Thursday. Photo by Mike Grubiak.

House Republicans voted today to turn their backs on working families and passed their so-called tax reform bill.

The bill eliminates the deduction for state and local taxes, deductions for student loan interest, tuition expenses, and even the deduction for educators' out-of-pocket school supplies. We commend New York congressional Republicans Dan Donovan, Peter King, Lee Zeldin, John Faso and Elise Stefanik — and the entire Democratic New York delegation — for listening to their constituents and voting "no" on this horrible plan.

This fight is not over; as the bill moves to the Senate, NYSUT will keep up the pressure to stop the tax giveaways to the wealthy at the expense of hardworking New Yorkers.

Here are statements from NYS AFL-CIO, the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, who calls the proposal a "tax scam."  

  • AFT (click to view)

    AFT on House Tax Vote

    WASHINGTON—Statement of AFT President Randi Weingarten following the House vote on the GOP tax proposal:

    “So much for the party of Lincoln and a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.” The Republican House just voted to radically transform our economy to further benefit the wealthy, corporations and their donors at the expense of working-class folks.

    “It’s crystal clear who loses in this bill: anyone who owns a house or is hoping to become a homeowner; teachers who count on a deduction to defray the money they spend out of their own pockets to buy supplies for their classrooms; people with long-term or chronic illness, who will no longer be able to deduct their medical expenses; students and those with student loan debt, who won’t be able to deduct student loan interest or tuition assistance; union members, who deduct their union dues; public schools, parents and students; and states and local communities that, because of the loss of the state and local tax deduction, won’t be able to fund the services people depend on, including first responders. And the winners are those who are already wealthy and powerful, who will get huge tax breaks and benefits from this bill.

    “We thank the Republican members who had the courage to stand up for the people in their districts over President Trump, Paul Ryan and Republican donors by voting against this bill. It’s now up to the Senate to reject this cruel and heartless proposal and focus on a tax agenda that helps the middle class instead of ripping away economic opportunity and security from the American people.”

  • NEA (click to view)

    NEA President: tax cut is giveaway to wealthiest paid for by students and working families

    Bill would risk funding for 250,000 education jobs by eliminating most state and local tax deduction

    WASHINGTON - November 16, 2017 - Today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a multi-trillion dollar tax plan that funds tax breaks for the wealthiest and corporations on the backs of students and working families. The bill, championed by Republican leaders, eliminates a popular tax deduction that allows educators to deduct eligible unreimbursed classroom spending up to $250. The bill also expands a tax loophole for the wealthiest to pay for private school expenses while cutting tax deductions for the middle class. The elimination of most of the state and local tax deductions would blow a hole in the state and local revenues that support public education and would risk funding for nearly 250,000 education jobs.

    NEA President Lily Eskelsen García released the following statement:

    “Hypocrisy is at the heart of the tax plan approved today by the U.S. House of Representatives. It reveals the ill-conceived and misguided priorities of Republican leaders. 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.

    “As educators spend more and more of their own funds each year to buy basic essentials for their students and classrooms, Republican leaders chose to ignore the sacrifice made by those who work in our nation’s public schools to make sure students have adequate books, pencils, paper and art supplies. This is highly hypocritical especially since some Republicans voted to make this deduction permanent in 2015. Now they want to eliminate it.

    “We’ve been down this road before. Lawmakers pass massive tax cuts then come back later demanding huge cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and education to ‘pay for’ the tax breaks for wealthy people and corporations who are not paying their fair share before getting new tax breaks. As with their health care debacle this year, Republican leaders are rushing to pass a massive, partisan bill that impacts every American household, critical public services like education, and our economy without giving it the scrutiny and deliberation it deserves. The American people demand Congress reject this reckless plan.”

  • NYS AFL-CIO (click to view)

    Statement of New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento on Passage of the House Tax Plan

    ALBANY --- Our Representatives in Washington DC had a choice to make; stand up for low and middle-income taxpayers of New York State or buckle under pressure from big corporations and side with their wealthy donors. Sadly, several of our Representatives turned their backs on working people by voting for the House tax plan that in reality is a tax scam.

    Representatives Tom Reed, Chris Collins, Claudia Tenney, and John Katko all showed a blatant disregard for the needs and concerns of all working men and women. They chose to cut taxes for the wealthiest 1 percent of New Yorkers, while eliminating tax breaks for the rest of us causing harm to the very people who entrusted them to do what is right. Their vote punishes working people by eliminating the deduction for state and local income and sales taxes, deductions for student loan interest, tuition expenses, and even deductions educators rely on for out-of-pocket school supplies. To add insult to injury, the plan would be paid for, in part, by drastically cutting Medicaid, Medicare and education. Their betrayal will not be forgotten.

    We commend Representatives Dan Donovan, Peter King, Lee Zeldin, John Faso, and Elise Stefanik, as well as the entire Democratic New York Delegation for voting “no” on the plan.

    This fight is not over. We will continue to work over the coming weeks to stop tax giveaways to those who need them the least at the expense of hardworking New Yorkers.