Photo Courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office
Opponents of the Republican tax reform plan rallied on Saturday in Manhattan.
By Michael V. Cusenza
The Senate’s approval of the GOP tax reform bill sparked a fresh round of pointed criticism from prominent New York Democrats.
The early Saturday morning party-line vote – 51-49 – gave top Empire State Dems, who have been blasting the Republican effort for weeks, more ammunition with which to rip their rivals.
“Republicans, voting on a bill they didn’t even have time to read, once again proved they care more about millionaires and campaign donors than working families. They voted for a tax increase for 87 million households. They voted for a $25 billion cut to Medicaid. They voted to kick 13 million people off their health insurance. They voted to give wealthy companies a tax break at the expense of cities’ police officers, firefighters and teachers,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Thankfully, the fight isn’t over. We can win this, but only if we all get involved. We must make the voices of hard working Americans from around the country heard in Washington, D.C. It’s time to remind our legislators that they work for us, not their campaign donors.”
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) shredded the partisan plan for not seeking “anything close to the type of relief” that regular working families need.
“Instead, what it does is this: It pays back wealthy donors and lobbyists through corporate welfare. And it does this at the expense of the middle class,” New York’s junior senator said. “In other words, this is a blatant attempt to take millions of families’ hard-earned money, and hand it over to rich corporations on the Fortune 500 list.”
Last week, City Comptroller Scott Stringer released a fact sheet outlining ways the GOP tax plans in Congress hurt New Yorkers, including:
• Many residents of the five boroughs could see higher taxes as a result of the elimination or curtailment of state and local tax deductibility for individuals, which currently benefits 1.3 million city residents.
• The House plan would result in almost 700,000 NYC residents paying more in taxes. Almost half of those who would pay more are families and individuals with incomes below $100,000, who would see their taxes rise by an average $800, primarily as a result of the elimination of state and local tax deductibility.
• Eliminating or limiting the deduction for local property taxes will lower home values – usually the single biggest source of retirement savings for middle-class households.
• The House plan threatens affordable housing by eliminating Private Activity Bonds and their associated Low Income Housing Tax Credits, which finance over $1 billion in affordable housing development in the Big Apple annually.
• Under the House plan, when one of the 92,000 City public school teachers buys supplies for their classroom, they will no longer be able to deduct that expense.
• The tax plans would explode the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion over a 10-year period.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or a Republican — if you’re a New Yorker, these bills target you,” Stringer said. “They’re economically backwards and morally wrong.”