Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Votes Against Republican’s Corporate Giveaway Tax Bill

November 16, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today voted against H.R.1, the Republicans’ tax reform bill, which passed today in the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 227-205 and now moves to the Senate for consideration.

This disastrous tax bill would provide permanent massive tax breaks to corporations and the wealthiest Americans, providing minor temporary relief and eventually raising taxes for millions of hardworking low-income and middle class families. While adding over $1.4 trillion to our nation’s already-reckless deficit, the bill eliminates numerous individual deductions that serve our most vulnerable populations, including our students, teachers, elderly, veterans, and more.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said:

“There’s no question our tax code needs serious reform, but the tax bill passed by the House today is not the way to achieve it. I voted against this legislation that increases our national deficit by over $1.4 trillion while providing huge giveaways to corporations and special interestsleaving everyone else behind.  

“Corporate tax cuts included in this bill were made permanent, while tax cuts for individuals last just under 10 years. Taxpayers in the top 1%people making over $730,000would ultimately receive nearly 50% of the total tax benefit.  In a place like Hawaiʻi, where families already struggle just to get by due to our high cost of living, those earning less than $55,000 per year will see little to no tax break from this bill, and would actually see their taxes increase in 10 years when the individual tax cuts expire.

“As Hawaiʻi moves closer to its goal of transitioning to 100% renewable energy by 2045, this bill would eliminate and phase out renewable and clean energy credits, while giving away $14 billion in federal subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. At a time when we need to end our dependence on fossil fuels, this is exactly the wrong direction for our country.

“Nearly half of all college graduates in Hawaiʻi hold some form of student debt, and with this bill, tens of thousands of students and graduates would lose their student loan interest deductions, further burying them in debt.

“Deductions for major medical expenses, affecting roughly 33,000 people in Hawaiʻi, would be eliminated, creating a disproportionate impact on our kūpuna and those most vulnerable already struggling to pay for the skyrocketing cost of medical care.

“Many Hawaiʻi public school teachers spend hundreds of dollars of their own money every year buying school supplies for their students. This tax bill gets rid of the deduction that teachers can take for these out of pocket expenses, further driving down their take-home pay.  

“This bill isn’t about real tax reformit’s a giveaway to corporations and special interests on the backs of people who are already struggling just to make ends meet. With this bill now in the hands of the Senate, I urge our colleagues to do right by the American people, and work toward real reform that serves the American people and strengthens our future.”

Harmful provisions in the tax bill include:

  • Dismantling the State and Local Tax Deduction which imposes a Federal tax on taxes already paid to State and local governments.
  • Lowering corporate taxes rates permanently, while creating temporary tax cuts for some middle class families. In 10 years, many low income and middle class families will pay more taxes at a higher rate than they do today.
  • Eliminating the medical expense deduction that more than 8.8 million Americans depend on to afford high medical costs. The current deduction allows individuals to deduct medical expenses that exceed 10 percent of their adjusted gross income. Seniors make up more than half of those who claim the medical expense deduction.
  • Potentially triggering a $136 billion cut to mandatory programs in FY2018 aloneincluding a mandatory $25 billion cut to Medicareto cover the offset of the $1.4 trillion dollar increase to our national deficit. In Hawai‘i, 245,000 people receive healthcare through Medicare.
  • Eliminating renewable energy tax credits that encourage our transition to a clean energy economy, including erasing the tax credit for electric vehicles, cutting credits for new wind energy projects by one-third, and ending the commercial solar investment credits, while leaving more than $14 billion in permanent annual federal subsidies for the fossil fuel industry untouched.
  • Wiping out student loan interest deductions that benefit 12 million Americans and eliminating lifetime learning credits and deductions for teachers paying out of pocket for school supplies for their classrooms. In addition, graduate students who receive tuition waivers would pay income tax on that deduction. Nearly half of all Hawai‘i graduates hold some form of student debt.
  • Imposing a new limit on the mortgage interest deduction, further exacerbating the affordable housing crisis in Hawai‘i.

 

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