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LETTER: Tax bill no help to middle class

Published on December 11, 2017 4:34PM

Why do our elected representative keep telling us the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act helps the middle class? While the bill initially reduces taxes for low and middle income taxpayers, many of the allowances that contribute to those reductions phase out quickly, so that by 2023, those groups would be paying more than under current law. Congress is already talking about the need to reduce social welfare programs so the increase in the deficit created by the new tax bill would be smaller. Those reductions will also hurt low and middle income taxpayers.

Why do they tell us the bill will create more jobs? The bills reduce the cost of buying new machinery (think robots) while increasing the cost of getting an education to train for good paying jobs (think taxing tuition waivers). Even if the tax reductions were to lead corporations and large businesses to create more jobs, it wouldn’t matter here in Eastern Oregon where there already is not enough affordable housing for all those who could work here. Bonds issued by cities or states on behalf of private and nonprofit developers (private activity bonds) serve as a tax-exempt means of financing all sorts of projects including affordable housing. The house version of the bill would eliminate the tax exemption for such bonds. Low Income Housing Tax Credits would be less attractive in an environment of lower corporate taxes. Building and maintaining affordable housing would be harder under the new tax bill so our housing stock would fall further behind the demand, raising housing prices for everyone.

Why is it more important to end the estate tax on the few ultra-large estates that still pay such a tax than to renew the Child Health Insurance Program? Ending the estate tax is not going to create jobs. Providing health insurance to children immediately puts money in family pockets and helps children be healthy in the process.

Why is the tax bill being rushed through Congress? Is it perhaps so we won’t have time to tell our representative that we object to a bill that harms middle and low income people, benefits the wealthy, and increases the deficit? Call your congressman now to ask them to vote against the proposed tax bill! Tell them to start over and think carefully about protecting the people who elected them.

Lindsay Winsor



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