Higgins Votes No on Tax Bill
Congressman Brian Higgins, Vice Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee, called the GOP tax bill a “hit on fundamental fairness” before casting vote against the tax package.
Higgins repeatedly expressed concern that the legislation pays for tax benefits for wealthy corporations at the expense of hardworking Americans and communities like Western New York.
Higgins spoke in opposition to the bill on the House Floor:
“Mr. Speaker, This is nothing more than a hit job on Middle America to pay for a massive tax cut for Corporate America.
“The only certainty from this charade is slower economic growth, more income inequality, and exploding deficits.
“When you take away tax relief from sick people who were born into illness, for whom insurance does not provide enough coverage, that is a hit on Middle America.
“When you remove help for people who are just trying to make college affordable, who are trying to make themselves better, that is a hit on Middle America.
“And when you take away health care for 13 million Americans and raise the costs for millions more, because you need another $300 billion to give more to corporate America, that is a hit on Middle America.
“And when 152,000 people from my community and millions more from New York lose 100 years of protection from state and local taxes, protection worth more than $8,000 per household, that is a hit on my community, that is a hit on New York state, and is a hit on each and every community in America.
“And when you take away the essential needs of Middle America to feed the rapacious needs of Corporate America it is a hit on fundamental fairness.
“And that, Mr. Speaker, is a hit on all of America.”
Below are just a few examples of how Western New Yorkers will be impacted:
- Students: Western New York is home to over 20 colleges and universities with more than 125,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Repeals the deduction for interest on education loans and the deduction for qualified tuition and related expenses. Cuts $65.5 billion in tax breaks for college and graduate school expenses, increasing the cost of a four-year degree by about $1284 for the average family.
- Economic Development: Ends the New Markets and Historic Tax Credits which have leveraged over $680 million in projects in Western New York, growing the local economy and jobs.
- State and Local Tax (SALT): Ends the deduction for state income taxes, caps the property tax deduction at $10,000 and limits the mortgage interest deduction to loans for less than $500,000.
- Medicare: Congressional Budget Office confirms bill will result in a $25 billion cut to Medicare.
- Veterans: Eliminates the Work Opportunity Tax Credit which encourages employers to hire veterans who are unemployed or have a service-connected disability.
- Seriously Ill: Ends the Medical Expense deduction costing families faced with chronic illness or severe disabilities more.
- Teachers: Eliminates the ability to deduct $250 for classroom expenses.
The House bill was approved by a vote of 227-205. The Senate will continue to deliberate their version of the legislation which contains vast differences, including full elimination of the SALT deduction and elimination of the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act, a provision projected to lead to 13 million more uninsured in America.