The House has passed a $1.5 trillion tax cut bill 227-205. Thirteen Republicans — none from Arkansas, naturally — joined Democrats in opposing the bill because of elements that will be harmful to the blue or bluish states from which they hail.
The bill WILL do harm to taxpayers in Arkansas who itemize, through the loss of deductions for state and local taxes. It will also increase the deficit. It also inordinantly benefits the wealthy, including a multi-billion-dollar gift to Walton heirs in the eventual elimination of the estate tax.
Inevitably, Medicare and Medicaid will have to be cut to pay for the tax cut. Some obstacles lie ahead in the Senate, which has a different version of the legislation.
“Looking at the numbers, it’s obvious this GOP tax bill is a scam to benefit the top 1% at the expense of hardworking folks across this country,” Chairman Michael John Gray said. “When Republicans say this bill benefits the middle class, that’s just a plain lie. Here in Arkansas, you’re going to see the richest 1% receive 44% of the tax cuts and a good chunk of the middle-class actually see their taxes increase.”
Among other controversies, the GOP tax bill is drawing harsh criticism for adding over $1.5 trillion to the debt over time, eliminating deductions for medical expenses and student loan interest, and slicing the mortgage interest deduction in half.
“This bill is vicious towards students, seniors, families — pretty much anyone trying to live out the American Dream,” Chairman Michael John Gray said. “80,000 college graduates here in Arkansas will pay $1,000 more per year under this plan. Seniors will find it harder to save for retirement or cover their medical bills. This is not to mention the hit families will take due to the mortgage interest deduction being cut in half. This GOP tax bill is a scam that fails Arkansans, and our Congressmen should have all voted ‘No.'”
Paul Spencer, a Democratic candidate for 2nd District against French Hill, also weighed in:
“At a time when Arkansans are demanding a more fair and equitable tax structure, Representative French Hill and other House Republicans have affirmed their commitment to the status quo of corporate cronyism.
If Arkansans wondered who is actually represented in Congress, they can simply look at who will benefit from this effort passed today. By raising the lowest tax bracket from ten to twelve percent, many Arkansans will actually pay more in taxes.Tax deductions that helped teachers, college students, and individuals with burdensome medical expenses will be cut to pay for tax breaks for billionaires and multinational corporations. It is no coincidence that the same entities that fund these representatives are the same entities that will benefit the most from this tax plan.
As if we needed any more evidence, this shows that Representative Hill and the Republican Congress not only believe that corporations are people, but they are the only people that truly matter.”