Members of Indivisible Colusa and Indivisible Yuba-Sutter held a rally at the intersection of Market and 10th Streets in Colusa on Friday to protest the tax bill the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on by the end of the week.
The rally was held as part of Indivisible’s National Week of Action protesting the Republican tax plan.
Members oppose a tax bill they said gives massive tax cuts to the wealthy, while phasing out or repealing other provisions, like the estate tax, the alternative minimum tax, state income tax and property tax deductions, and the student loan interest deduction.
Indivisible’s sponkeswoman Jennifer Roberts said she would prefer to see a bipartisan tax plan that does not hurt the middle class or hinder opportunities for higher education.
“I would like to see more resources put into education instead of putting more money into the pockets of millionaires and billionaires, which is what this tax bill would do,” Roberts said.
Roberts also believes the proposed tax plan blows a $1.7 trillion hole in the deficit that will force deep cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security down the road.
Indivisible is a grassroots movement of about 6,000 groups working to defeat the Trump agenda, elect progressive leaders,and realize bold progressive policies, Roberts said.
More than a dozen members protested Friday, some carrying signs that implied tax cuts only make the rich richer.
“What (brought) me out tonight is the concern for the American people…The attitude of ‘I got mine; to hell with you’ by the Republican Party is not the Republican Party that I once liked,” said Debra Tripp, of Colusa.
Tripp said after moving to Colusa as a Democrat in 1986, she got a letter from Republican “Saint” Virginia Yerxa telling her that the Democratic Party had left her.
“There was some truth to that, but Virginia Yerxa supported the schools,” Tripp said.
“Virginia Yerxa supported reading. She was a person who cared about people…She was a Republican who cared.”
Tripp, the wife of a minister, said she feels now that it is the Republican Party that has left her, and that evangelical Christians have hijacked the party and distorted Jesus’ message about loving and caring for the poor.
“I totally believe that we should welcome immigrants and strangers, and that in order to supply a safety net for all people, then we need to have fair taxation,” Tripp said. “And I don’t mean fair as in equal, I mean fair in that if you have been gifted then you have to pay more. That is what the Bible says, ‘from those to whom much is given, much is to be expected.’ That is the true message of the gospel.”
But Senate Republicans say the proposed plan is favorable to American small businesses and the middle class, especially those living paycheck to paycheck, and that the plan is meant to accelerate economic growth and increase wages for workers.
“After eight years of historically low growth under the previous Administration, it’s time to get our economy back on track, so we’ll also work to boost American competitiveness so that our workers and small businesses can win on the international playing field,” U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV), a member of the tax-writing U.S. Senate Finance Committee, said in a press release in September.
Heller also worked with Ivanka Trump to propose a favorable tax credit that helps offset the cost of childcare. The Senate plan, like the House plan, proposes a $5,000 dependent care tax credit to help working families offset the cost of care for their children and older dependents.
Unlike the House bill, the Senate plan also maintains the lowest 10 percent tax bracket and sets the top bracket at 38.5 percent for wealthier Americans. The House plan had set the lowest at 12 percent and the highest at 39.6 percent.
The Senate bill also preserves charitable deductions, allows for the deduction for medical expenses, which the House bill did not, protects the current $1 million interest deduction on home mortgages, and maintains that cap for loans taken out on new home purchases.
In addition, the current IRS rules that allow 401 (k) investors to deduct as much as $18,500 from their paychecks before taxes are calculated in 2018 will remain the same, and under the Senate plan, workers 50 or older would be able to invest an additional $6,000 in pre-tax dollars.
The Republican plan, however, still battled criticism from progressives on Friday, who said that the legislation would continue to disproportionately benefit corporations and the wealthy, and that there was no evidence that the statutory corporate rate, currently 35 percent, affects the competitiveness of U.S. corporations.
“Trickle down doesn’t work,” said Indivisible Colusa member Ed Davis, of Williams. “The main outcome of the Republican tax plan will be a continued increase in inequality of wealth.”
While Indivisible agreed the Senate Bill is more favorable to middle class Americans than the bill passed entirely by House Republicans, Roberts believes many of those benefits would sunset in 10 years, and that most middle class Americans would see their taxes increase.
“We believe that no middle-class families should have to pay more in taxes so that wealthy individuals and corporations can get bigger tax breaks,” she said. ■