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CWA: Employers Should Guarantee ‘$4,000 Wage Increase’ Promised by Trump Tax Plan

The Communications Workers of America wants to make sure that the nation’s biggest employers actually give working families the average $4,000 wage increases that the Trump administration says will result from cutting the corporate tax rate.

Urging CEOs to “cut through the rhetoric,” CWA President Chris Shelton said that if the cuts proposed in the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” go into effect, corporations should guarantee that working people will receive the raises the administration promised and ensure that the bill’s treatment of overseas profits will not result in domestic job loss.

Yesterday, Shelton sent individual letters to CEOs of some of the largest corporations where CWA members work including Verizon, AT&T, CenturyLink, Frontier Communications, American Airlines, General Electric, NBC Universal and ABC Entertainment asking them to sign a memorandum of agreement as part of the current contracts with CWA now in force. “Together, through collective bargaining, we can ensure promises about wages and jobs are kept,” Shelton wrote.

President Trump and his economic advisers have been very clear that working families will receive these wage increases. Speaking in Pennsylvania in October, President Trump said the tax cuts “would likely give the typical American household around a $4,000 pay raise.”

Trump’s claim appears to come from a Council of Economic Advisors report that states, “Reducing the statutory federal corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent would…increase average household income in the United States by, very conservatively, $4,000 annually. The increases recur each year, and the estimated total value of corporate tax reform for the average U.S. household is therefore substantially higher than $4,000,” as much as $9,000.

Many economists, however, are skeptical, and predict that corporations will use the money from the tax cuts to buy back stock or issue dividends. That’s why CWA members are asking employers to “show us the money” and to make sure working people receive the wage increases they’ve been promised.

Links to Letters

Verizon

AT&T

NBC Universal

Frontier

General Electric

ABC Entertainment

CenturyLink

American Airlines

House Republicans Push Through Their Tax Hike On Middle Class Families

Last night, straight down party lines, Republicans voted to give millionaires and billionaires a massive tax cut and to raise taxes on millions of hard working Americans.

“Today’s vote is a missed opportunity to deliver the tax reform we need for middle class families and small businesses,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “I strongly support reform that starts with the goal of providing tax relief for those in the economy who need it most. This bill is little more than a giveaway to big corporate interests and wealthy individuals while creating losers among many middle class families who will see their taxes increase in the coming years.”

“The tax bill that House Republicans passed today seeks to steal from the vast majority of Americans to benefit the very few. This is an attack on our economic security and on the fabric of our nation,” said Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter. “House Republicans’ tax scam is loaded with provisions to help the wealthiest: it eliminates the estate tax, which will only be paid by an estimated 5,500 super-wealthy Americans this year, and slashes the corporate tax rate claimed by the biggest businesses. Meanwhile, it raises taxes on many middle-class families, and it sets small benefits for working families to expire in five years – while making cuts for corporations permanent. And make no mistake about it: these cuts will take money away from needed national security investments at this dangerous moment in time.”

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, confirmed Shea-Porter’s claim by stating, “12 percent of taxpayers would pay more in 2019 and 13 percent would pay more in 2027.” These increases unfairly hit middle class families.

This tax increase to the middle class comes primarily from the loss of “itemized deductions” that allow taxpayers to deduct things like mortgage interest, state and local taxes, student loan interest, qualifying work related expenses, and medical expenses.

“One reason for the variation across states is that taxpayers who live in places with higher state and local taxes may be more heavily impacted because those taxes would no longer be deductible on federal tax returns,” ITEP added.

“The bill the House approved today hurts older Americans now and in the future,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “Eliminating the medical expense deduction means it will be harder for families with high medical expenses, most of whom are seniors, to make ends meet. The House Republican tax bill axes deductions that help working people so it can give more to the wealthiest.”

“The wealthy and corporations do not need these tax breaks. The vast majority of Americans understand that trickle-down economics does not work, and they disapprove of this plan. Retirees and working Americans know who this plan helps and who it hurts. And they will remember this when they vote in 2018,” Fiesta concluded.

Shea-Porter added, “This bill eliminates the deduction for high medical expenses claimed by over 40,000 Granite Staters and the student loan interest deduction that helps people saddled with student debt. It even takes away the modest $250 above-the-line deduction I fought to make permanent for almost 20,000 New Hampshire teachers – while keeping the golf course tax loophole. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says the plan would explode the deficit by $1.7 trillion, triggering automatic cuts to Medicare. We all know our tax code desperately needs reform – but those reforms need to help the working people who are already losing out under our tax code, not give even more to the wealthiest 1% and the biggest corporations.”

The AFL-CIO says the bill is a “job killer” and rewards corporations for offshoring American jobs. Under the House proposal “U.S. tax rate on offshore profits from 35% to 0%,” creating a subsidy for outsourcing jobs that would cost taxpayers “$208 billion over 10 years.”

In their letter of opposition to the proposed tax plan, William Samuel, Director

Government Affairs Department at the AFL-CIO, called the proposal the “poster child for the failed ‘trickle-down’ economic theory that has never worked and has repeatedly stuck working people with the tab for tax giveaways for millionaires, big corporations, and Wall Street.”

Republicans are trying to pull the wool over our eyes in this massive tax scam. The plan would slash the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20% and repeals the Alternative Minimum Tax on “pass-through” businesses. A couple of examples of a “pass through” business are “small businesses” like hedge funds, law firms, realty investment companies, and some large corporations like Bechtel construction (the 9th largest single owned business in the US). Without the Alternative Minimum Tax these “pass through” businesses would not be required to pay any federal taxes at all.

NBC News is reporting “Trump and his heirs potentially could save more than $1 billion overall under the GOP tax proposal that the House of Representatives passed Thursday,” though he continues to say that the plan will not benefit him.

The progressive coalition, Not One Penny, supports tax reforms but not one penny in reductions to “millionaires, billionaires, and wealthy corporations.”

“The tax bill that passed the House today is an affront to the people that our leaders in Washington claim to represent. The GOP voted to cut taxes for millionaires, billionaires, and wealthy corporations, inevitably forcing cuts to programs working families depend on like Medicaid, Medicare, public education, and Social Security. While passing the largest middle-class tax hike in a generation, the GOP said ‘no thanks’ to helping working families this Thanksgiving,” said Not One Penny spokesman Tim Hogan. “The tax proposal that passed today is wildly unpopular with a majority of Americans, and voters won’t forget those who enabled this hypocrisy. Republicans’ vote today is one that will haunt them in the weeks and months ahead.”

Over the last month, in mobilizing against Republicans’ disastrous tax plan, the Not One Penny coalition has coordinated more than a hundred events and actions across the country to hold congressional Republicans accountable for pushing tax cuts for the wealthy and well-connected at the expense of working families.

Advocates and activists continue to mobilize in opposition to Republicans’ tax scam. From hundreds gathering together at rallies alongside Leaders Pelosi and Schumer, Members of Congress, and progressive allies on November 1 and November 15, to local grassroots activity across the country, Americans will continue to resist this toxic tax plan.

“Progressive groups have come together to prevent Republicans from rigging the system even further for the wealthy and well-connected, and we will not quit until this taxpayer-funded giveaway to millionaires, billionaires, and wealthy corporations is stopped dead in its tracks. After months of activity, we continue to mobilize thousands of activists to stop Republicans attempts to raise taxes on middle-class families. Congressional Republicans should take note: we will hold you accountable for every vote you take that threatens the health and financial security of your constituents,” Hogan added.

“This bill has always been about giving massive tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations, paid for by the rest of us — and our groups have been fired up about that from the beginning,” said Ezra Levin, Co-Executive Director of Indivisible, a member of the Not One Penny coalition. “Even before this tax fight became a health care fight, we had over 100 events in every corner of this country to oppose the Trump Tax Scam. Now that Republicans have explicitly included ACA repeal, our groups are even more energized than before.”

The bill now moves to the Senate where it is sure to face stiff opposition, especially after the news that Senator McConnell added the repeal of the Affordable Care Act to their tax plan.

Should-be Republican supporters are beginning to defect from the GOP tax plan because of the disastrous impact it would have on the American economy and the harm it would have on millions of middle-class families. Opposition to the plan includes:

  • Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, who said the plan benefits corporations over small businesses, and he finds the process being used to rush the bill “offensive.”
  • Arizona Senator Jeff Flake said, “I remain concerned over how the current tax reform proposals will grow the already staggering national debt by opting for short-term fixes while ignoring long-term problems for taxpayers and the economy.”
  • MaineSenator Susan Collins said, “I don’t think it’s a good idea from either a political or policy perspective.” Tennessee Senator Bob Corker said, “If I believe it’s going to add to the deficit, I’m not going to vote for it.”
  • Oklahoma Senator James Lankfordsaid, “It’s one thing to be able to cut taxes. It’s another thing to say how are we going to deal with our debt and deficit.”
  • Texas Senator Ted Cruzsaid, “Right now, they don’t have my vote.”

Make sure to let your Senators know how you feel about this new proposal. The Senate Democrats are unanimous against the bill but in order to ensure this bill never reaches the President’s desk we need to get at least three Republicans to vote it down.

“We need bipartisan tax reform that simplifies our tax code to help small businesses and delivers meaningful relief to middle-class families. Sadly, the tax bill approved last night is a partisan effort that doesn’t meet any of those goals,” said Senator Shaheen. “This bill would add over one and a half trillion dollars to our national debt and hurt Granite State students, seniors and working families, all to provide tax cuts to the very wealthy and large corporations. I stand ready to work with Republicans and Democrats to reform our tax code, but we need a bill that’s fiscally responsible, helps grow our economy and prioritizes the middle class.”

“Not One Penny” Hosts Rally Against GOP Tax Proposal

Rally Comes As House Prepares to Vote on GOP Tax Proposal Tomorrow

Leader Schumer: “They’re taking away money from the middle class and working people’s health care so they can cut taxes for the rich. Shame on them.”

Leader Pelosi: “We will stand firm against the Republican efforts to cheat, swindle, and scam the American people.”

Washington, D.C. — As the House prepares to vote on massive tax cuts for the top one percent on the backs of working families, hundreds of activists and advocates rallied at the U.S. Capitol with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to demand not one penny in tax cuts for millionaires, billionaires, and wealthy corporations. This comes the day after Republican leadership announced revisions to the Senate tax plan that would leave an additional 13 million Americans uninsured and inflate premiums for working families to pay for massive tax cuts for wealthy corporations.

Speakers at the rally, including numerous Members of Congress, the heads of progressive organizations, and constituents harmed by the tax plan, also demanded that President Trump release his tax returns so the American people know just how much he and his donors stand to gain from a tax bill that benefits the wealthy and well-connected.

“The Republican tax bill is a shameless tax scam of staggering proportions,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. “Republicans are hiking taxes on tens of millions of middle class families, all just to give deficit-exploding handouts to corporations and the wealthy. Democrats in Congress are proud to stand with Americans across the country to demand ‘Not One Penny’ for the 1 percent. Together, we will stand firm against the Republican efforts to cheat, swindle, and scam the American people.”

“They’re taking away money from the middle class and working people’s health care so they can cut taxes for the rich,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. “Shame on them. It’s unbelievable: 13 million people will lose health care and premiums will go up 10 percent, all so the wealthy and powerful in America can get a huge tax break. No American wants that.”

“The Republican tax bill threatens our country.” said Representative Lloyd Doggett, Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Tax Policy and Congressman from Texas. “It is wrong. It’s all about financing tax cuts for those sitting way up top the economic ladder and the giant multinational corporations that have exported so many American jobs.”

“This is the most audacious bank heist in U.S. history,” said U.S. Senator from Oregon, Jeff Merkely. “They want to drain the national treasury, put us in debt, cut other programs, all in order to help the very richest Americans.”

“This bill is about enriching the wealthiest in our country and corporate special interests on the backs of our country’s middle class,” said New York’s 14th congressional district Representative, Joe Crowley. “The 1 percent will benefit because it will increase our debt by $2.3 trillion dollars. And that means we’ll have to cut Social Security and cut Medicaid. It’s a setup.”

“This bill is a classic bait and switch. It’s a con artist’s dream, and we are not buying it,” said Lily Eskelsen Garcia, President of the National Education Association. “One of the things we looked at in this bill is how it’s going to impact our students. For the kids in your life, this is the civics lesson of our time. There is a right answer and a wrong answer when this bill hits the floor. They didn’t do their homework, and we’re sending them back with a great big no.”

“How will they make up for millions of dollars in tax cuts for the wealthy? ” said Anna Corbin from the Little Lobbyists, and the mother of two kids with complex medical needs. “It’s pretty clear they’re going to come after us. They could get rid of the deductions that many families who have children with complex medical needs rely on, or they could cut Medicaid. Of course, there’s always the option that they’ll do both, and they’ll take away our Medicaid lifeline. Cutting taxes means cutting services. Not one penny can be taken from children with complex medical needs. Not one penny can be given to the wealthy at the expense of those who need it most. And not one penny can be sacrificed when our children’s lives, lifelines, and livelihoods are under attack.”

The rally was coordinated in partnership with Tax March, Americans for Tax Fairness, the Center for American Progress Action Fund, Communications Workers of America, Indivisible, League of Conservation Voters, Little Lobbyists, Main Street Alliance, MoveOn.org, Patriotic Millionaires, Stand Up America, and others.

Recent analysis shows that Republicans’ framework is designed to shower even more benefits on millionaires and wealthy corporations as time goes by, while at least 25 percent of taxpayers would pay more by 2027.

The video of the rally can be viewed here, or below.

 

House GOP Tax Plan Hurts Working Families

Today, the House Republicans released their new tax plan that would lower taxes for the ultra-wealthy and add trillions to the national debt. The plan would also drastically reduce the corporate tax rate while continuing to reward companies for offshoring American jobs.

“This tax bill is a job killer. It gives hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to companies that outsource jobs and profits,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. “No matter how it’s spun by Republican politicians, their tax bill is nothing but giveaways to Wall Street, big corporations and millionaires, paid for on the backs of working families.”

“It’s shameless to propose cutting Medicaid, Medicare, education and infrastructure to pay for tax breaks for the 1%. History tells us, commonsense tells us and careful analysis of this tax bill tells us that these tax giveaways for the wealthy and big corporations will never trickle down to the rest of us. Real tax reform actually can put money back in the pockets of working people, but this is not that kind of plan,” Trumka added.

“The Republican tax plan is a handout to millionaires, billionaires, and big corporations that will raise taxes on working families and give corporations new incentives to send more U.S. jobs overseas,” stated Chris Shelton, President of the Communication Workers of America (CWA). “Republicans and White House staff have been working overtime to spin this deal as a ‘middle class tax cut.’ It’s not.”

Shelton explained just a few of the ways the new tax proposal will hurt CWA members and working families across the nation.

  • It limits the ability to deduct property taxes and completely eliminates the ability to deduct state and local taxes.
  • It gets rid of tax deductions that help families pay education expenses. It will tax directly the value of employer-provided education assistance that at least 10,000 CWA members use.
  • It restricts the amount of home mortgage interest that can be deducted, hurting CWA members and working people especially in areas like California, New York, New Jersey, and other states with high housing costs.
  • It wipes out the ability of families to deduct their medical expenses.
  • Any employer-provided child care benefit will be taxed, and assistance from employers to help CWA families adopt a child also will be taxed.

“We cannot allow tax cuts for the wealthy to harm millions of working families. CWA and our allies are fighting back against this massive transfer of dollars from working families to the richest 1 percent,” added Shelton.

David J Cox, President of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) also spoke out against the new tax plan.

“The tax plan unveiled by House leadership would mostly benefit those who need the help the least: wealthy individuals and large corporations. While the plan would lower the tax rate for many middle-income families, most would end up having more of their income taxed. And the plan would actually raise taxes on our poorest citizens.”

“Too many American workers have been suffering from stagnant wages, rising costs for health care and other essentials, and an economic system that favors the millionaires and billionaires. This plan does nothing to help them,” he concluded.

The new plan angered the Alliance for Retired Americans, a national advocacy group for seniors.

“This is the latest cruel scheme. The tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans are so massive that they plan to cut nearly $500 billion from Medicare and more than $1 trillion from Medicaid over the next 10 years to pay for them – but they will still add $1.5 trillion to the deficit,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans.

“Exacerbating the problems they are creating, the House and the Trump Administration would no longer allow Americans, including retirees, to deduct their medical expenses, including nursing home costs or out of pocket medical or dental expenses from their taxes.”

Even some on the right oppose this new tax proposal. The Concord Coalition, a self proclaimed “non-partisan, grassroots organization,” heavily funded by former Sec. of Commerce Peter G Peterson, spoke out against this new proposal calling it “fiscally irresponsible.”

“True tax reform should aim to grow the economy without growing the debt ” said Robert L. Bixby, Concord’s executive director. “This plan would move U.S. fiscal policy in a dangerous direction, openly inviting higher deficits in the face of unsustainable debt.”

The federal debt recently passed the $20 trillion mark, and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that under current law the government is on track to add more than $10 trillion to that in the next 10 years. This version of the tax plan will add at least another $1.5 trillion onto that projection.

“It is important that any changes made to this draft to accommodate interest group concerns and increase potential support be paid for by reducing tax cuts rather than increasing the number of budget gimmicks,” Bixby added.

Working people across the country should not be made to suffer to give the top 1% more tax breaks.

Former Sec. of Labor and respected economist Robert Reich said, “The proposed tax cuts are tiny and temporary. And some middle class Americans will actually get a tax increase.”

Reich calls this tax plan a “Trojan Horse” in this short video released today.

“Meanwhile, the top 1 percent will get a gigantic tax cut. The Tax Policy Center estimates that the current plan will save the bottom 80 percent between $50 and $450 in taxes per year, but that it saves each person in the top 1 percent an average of $129,000 a year. For people at the very top, like Trump himself, the tax cuts are humongous. And the corporations they own will also get a massive tax cut,” Reich added.

Working people have suffered through decades of stagnant wages, budget cuts to programs that help them and provide healthcare when they get old.  Enough is enough. We must stop this massive giveaway to the wealthy 1%.

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