My Vote on the GOP Tax Plan

As someone who worked in business and economic development professionally, I know that middle class families and small businesses would benefit from a simpler, more competitive tax code. Unfortunately, the bill approved by Republicans in Congress today actually raises taxes on millions of middle class families and doesn’t do enough for small businesses. Those are just two of the reasons I voted against it.

At the beginning of this process, I told my colleagues on all sides of the political spectrum that I was willing to work with them on a tax plan that gives the middle class a break and actually helps businesses grow jobs. Rather than work with Democrats to craft a bipartisan bill, Republicans chose to push through a bill that delivers huge tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, while providing little or nothing in the way of relief for the rest of us.

According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, the wealthiest 1% will receive nearly 50% of the total reductions in this bill. In fact, this bill actually increases taxes for an estimated 36 million middle class families because it eliminates nearly all of the deductions these households claim! Specifically, the bill eliminates the deductions that help families deal with student loan debt, the deduction that help Americans with disabilities and long-term care needs handle their medical expenses, and the deduction for dependent care assistance to afford day care. While big corporations could get a tax break for their moving expenses if they sent American jobs overseas, families moving to take a new job would no longer get a deduction for their moving expenses. Beyond that, the bill reduces the mortgage interest deduction and the deduction for state and local taxes.

In order to deliver big tax cuts to large corporations and the wealthiest Americans, this plan adds $1.5 trillion to the national debt. That’s harmful for the nation’s fiscal outlook, will cause interest rates to go up for folks looking to buy a house or start a business, and will put even more pressure on programs like Social Security and Medicare. And as former Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin points out, adding to the deficit in such a significant way actually offsets any economic growth we might see from lower tax rates.

The bottom line is, unless you’re super rich, this is a bad plan. I couldn’t support it. I remain hopeful that rather than pushing through a partisan proposal written behind closed doors with input from special interests, Congress will work on real reform that helps middle class families, grows jobs in our country, and serves the interests of our the folks I represent. I’ll keep working hard toward that end.