In her recent Star-Telegram op-ed, U.S. Rep. Kay Granger celebrated flawed tax legislation that was pushed through without debate or enough time for members of Congress to read the nearly 500 plus pages, which included handwritten margin notes. The law, which lobbyists saw before members of Congress did, has failed to provide many District 12 constituents with the promised higher salaries and increased job opportunities.
Thanks to the new tax law, the deficit is ballooning. As a direct result of this legislation, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has stated the US budget deficit will surpass $1 trillion by 2020. Additionally, on Tuesday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that workers in production and non-supervisory positions, a segment of the workforce that makes up almost 80% of private employment, have actually seen their wages fall.
According to the Tax Policy Center, a non-partisan think tank, middle-class families will only see an average tax cut of $840 in 2019, while at the same time, the wealthiest top 0.1% of earners will receive an average tax cut of almost $62,000. By 2027, middle class families will see that average tax cut shrink, decreasing to only $40, while the super wealthy will continue to reap the benefits, receiving an average tax cut of over $182,000. this is certainly not great news for hard-working Texans.
By repealing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, the new law also harms American families. The Congressional Budget Office expects the number of uninsured Americans to increase by 3 million next year, and by 2027, the CBO predicts 35 million Americans will lack coverage. Individuals paying into employer-sponsored health insurance plans are also experiencing premium increases. With insurance rates rising and the number of uninsured Americans continuing to grow, a meager $840 tax cut ultimately doesn’t amount to much of a benefit for families.
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Despite claims that the tax law will produce thousands of new jobs, companies, like AT&T, Walmart, and Kimberly-Clark, who profited heavily from the law, have already announced lay-offs. In fact, Walmart alone has announced plans to lay off almost 10,000 workers.
The much heralded bonuses linked to the tax plan were actually tied to seniority. As a result, only a handful of employees who had been with the company for 20 or more years were even eligible to receive a $1,000 bonus. Even more notably many of those bonuses were one-time benefits. While bonuses can give families a great short-term boost, they do little to provide long-term financial security.
Members of Congress who voted for and defend this bill are giving families a tax cut with one hand and picking their pockets with the other. I want hard-working Americans to keep more of their hard-earned money, and I want their spending power to go further. A tax reform bill written by lobbyists for corporations is not the way to help American families, and it is disingenuous to suggest otherwise.
Vanessa Adia is the Democratic candidate for Texas Congressional District 12.. She wrote this article in response to Rep. Granger's defense of the tax bill published June 13. Adia is a public middle-school teacher.