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Rep. Hanabusa Opposes Republican Tax Plan

December 20, 2017, 1:52 PM HST
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Rep. Colleen Hanabusa official photo.

Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa voted against a Republican proposal to overhaul the country’s tax code to disproportionately favor the wealthy and corporations.

Rep. Hanabusa:

“This bill is not sound, thoughtful tax policy. It was crafted to fulfill a campaign promise made by Donald Trump and to give the Republicans a talking point for the upcoming election cycle. It is truly unfortunate that the House approved a $1.5 trillion tax cut that benefits the wealthiest Americans by lowering the top individual tax rate from 39.6 to 37% and encourages federal tax avoidance by providing a complex legal framework and incentives.

“The American people and their representatives in Congress do not have a solid understanding of what is in this bill. The expiration dates for some of these provisions and the daily revelations of earmarks and legislative riders designed to help the president’s business and Republican interests ensure that Congress will be debating and tinkering with these policies for decades.

“I will not support a bill that doles out 83% of the tax breaks to the wealthiest 1% of Americans while raising taxes on 86 million middle-class households. That is more than half of America’s middle class. The few individual tax breaks are temporary while the cuts for corporations are permanent. In a state like Hawai‘i, we have more than 25,000 residents struggling to find affordable housing and work that pays for our high cost of living, this plan is a disaster. More than 179,000 workers in Hawai‘i earn an average salary of less than $40,000 a year. This measure helps the wealthiest Hawai‘i residents protect their assets while raising taxes on lower-income Hawaii families.

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“The tax benefit for Hawai‘i residents seeking to buy a new home will be reduced because the mortgage interest deduction cap was lowered to $750,000. That is a tough move in a city like Honolulu where the median single-family home price often exceeds $800,000.

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“Hawai‘i residents who claim the deduction for State and Local Taxes (SALT) will lose significant benefits. SALT prevents tax payers from owing taxes on the income they pay in taxes to state and local governments but under the new law, the benefit for individuals and families will be capped at $10,000.

“However, big corporations may continue taking the deduction. Almost 40 percent of taxpayers earning between $50,000 and $75,000 claim SALT and more than 70% of taxpayers making $100,000 to $200,000 use it. More than half the value of the deduction went to households earning less than $200,000 a year. Our local families will be severely impacted.

“I remember a time when Republicans refused to vote for disaster relief legislation until we worked out off sets in other areas of the budget. I was also in the Congress when we passed the Budget Control Act; a compromise arrived at because the other side was deeply concerned with how a Senate controlled by Democrats managed the people’s money. But now that Republicans elected Donald Trump and control both chambers of the Congress, they could not care less about where the money to pay for these tax cuts comes from nor do they seem particularly concerned about deepening our deficit by trillions of dollars.”

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PERSPECTIVE

According to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center: Nearly 70 percent of families with incomes of between $54,700 and $93,200 a year will pay more in taxes than they do under the current structure. By contrast, 92 percent of families whose incomes put them in the top 0.1 percent of the country would get a tax cut averaging $206,280.

Only 33% of respondents to a CNN Poll released today say they support the GOP tax plan.

Doubles the estate tax exemption, providing largest tax cuts for the heirs of the wealthiest 0.2% of estate

By repealing the individual insurance mandate, health insurance premiums will rise by about 10 percent a year and 13 million more Americans will go without health insurance.

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