The U.S. House today narrowly passed (216-212) a budget framework that would allow $1.5 trillion in tax cuts.
The four Republican House members from Arkansas voted for the budget plan.
Tax proposals from controlling Republicans spell monetary windfalls for the wealthy and little help, even pain, for people on the lower end of the income spectrum. One idea will particularly harm Arkansas — the loss of an itemized deduction for state income tax payments. As a relatively high-income -ax state, the loss of that deduction will mean a higher federal tax bill for many Arkansans. To date, the expectation has been that much of the tax cutting would be paid for by $1.7 trillion in cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, though deficits also are expected to increase. Republicans say the tax cuts will produce mighty economic prosperity, an unfulfilled promise from past tax reduction plans.
Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families immediately raised the alarm on how the budget could impact children and the working poor.
The budget resolution that the House passed today brings Congress one step closer to enacting $1.5 trillion in unpaid-for tax cuts largely for the wealthy and profitable corporations while making low- and middle-income Americans foot the bill.
The budget sets up a fast-track, partisan process for passing the Republican tax plan with just 51 votes, the same process they used to try to force through their repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The tax plan would overwhelmingly benefit those at the top of the economic ladder: the top 1 percent in Arkansas would receive 59 percent of the tax cuts while the bottom 20 percent of Arkansans would get less than 2 percent, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP). Arkansas households that make over a million dollars each year would see an average tax cut of $137,200, ITEP found.
Everyday Arkansans would pay for these tax cuts for the wealthy and profitable corporations. That could come either through immediate cuts to critical programs that help families thrive, including health coverage, tax credits for low-income families, and basic assistance for poor seniors and people with disabilities. Or it would come in the future when dramatically higher deficits would ultimately force cuts to health care, education, infrastructure, and other building blocks of economic growth.
Under this plan, working families in Arkansas will likely end up worse off. Instead of tax cuts that help those who need it the least, Congress should be prioritizing budget and tax policies that boost working families, spur our economy through investment in education, housing, infrastructure, and more, and do not add to the deficit.
While we are disappointed that Arkansas’s representatives voted for the budget plan today, they will have a second chance to stand with Arkansas families as the House and Senate craft a tax bill. We call on Arkansas’s federal delegation to oppose any plan with tax cuts for the wealthy and profitable corporations that would force cuts to programs that help every day Americans make ends meet and get ahead.