House Passes Tax Hike for TN Families, Senate Bill Threatens Healthcare

Yesterday, the US House of Representatives passed a so-called tax reform bill that will lead to a tax hike for 355,000 Tennessee families. The bill also adds more than 1 trillion dollars to the deficit over 10 years. Of the Tennessee delegation, only Representatives Steve Cohen of Memphis and Jim Cooper of Nashville opposed the bad deal.

The Center for American Progress reports:

the plan is heavily skewed to benefit the wealthy and corporations, including cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent at a cost of more than $1.4 trillion over 10 years; repealing the alternative minimum tax on high-income individuals at a cost of $696 billion; repealing the tax on estates worth more than $5.5 million at a cost of $151 billion; and creating a special new loophole that overwhelmingly benefits wealthy owners of pass-through business entities, such as limited liability companies and partnerships, at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars.

Additionally, Tennessee’s middle class families stand to lose important deductions:

the plan takes away a range of tax benefits that are important to middle-income and working Americans, such as personal and dependent exemptions; the deduction for high medical expenses that arise from hardships such as a catastrophic diagnosis or a loved one entering a nursing home; the student loan interest deduction that benefits millions who are just entering the workforce after obtaining an education; and the deduction for state and local sales and income taxes.

According to analysis provided by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, 355,000 Tennesseans in the bottom 80% of income earners would see an increase in their taxes by 2027 under the bill.

“Tennessee families can’t afford this tax scam,” said Andy Spears, executive director of Tennessee Citizen Action. “It’s a bad deal that not only raises taxes on middle class families, but adds to the deficit. We’ll be paying more and getting less under this plan.”

Now, debate on the tax bill moves to the Senate. There, a version of the legislation includes threats to health care access.

Repealing the mandate would drive up premiums by 10 percent in 2019 and lead to 13 million fewer people having health insurance by 2025. A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report also revealed that the similar House version of the tax bill would result in $25 billion in cuts to Medicare in fiscal year 2018 and hundreds of billions of dollars of cuts to the program overall. Taken as a whole, the tax bill would not only increase taxes for millions of middle-class families but would also have disastrous effects on people’s health care.

According to analysis by the Center for American Progress, Tennessee families buying health insurance on the marketplace would see premium hikes of around $3000. Additionally, CAP estimates an increase of 262,000 uninsured Tennesseans by 2025 as a result of the Senate bill. But, that’s not all. Tennessee would also see more than $500 million in cuts to Medicare funding.

“Higher taxes, bigger deficits, and cuts to healthcare are all included in this tax scam,” Spears said. “Our lawmakers should reject this bad deal and work toward a plan that works for all families in Tennessee.”

For more on our work, follow @TNCitizenAction




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