17 reasons you should call your Senators to oppose the Tax Bill that will be voted on THIS THURSDAY

1) The most recent CBO score estimates it would add $1.4 trillion to the deficit. That’s $1,400,000,000,000 from the party that’s supposed to be committed to shrinking the deficit.

2) Corporate tax cuts are permanent, but tax cuts, such as they are, for individuals will expire in 10 years.

3) Many low-income people will see higher taxes by 2019 (conveniently after the 2018 mid-term elections), but many low- and middle-income people will see higher taxes by the mid 2020s, higher than they would have under the existing law.

4) If you live in an area with high state and local taxes, your ability to deduct these State and Local Taxes (SALT) would be taken away. I love double taxation, don’t you?

5) The proposal seeks to offset some of its HUGE costs by opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. Yes, we’re fighting this fight again.

6) You remember trickle down tax policies from the 1980s and know they don’t work as promised.

7) If you are a grad student, or have a family member entering graduate school, the House Bill, which would have to be reconciled with the Senate bill, seeks to tax as income the tuition waivers students get for working as teaching and research assistants, rather than exempting it as it is now. It would be entirely possible, even likely, for your tax bill to be higher than your actual take-home income, making graduate school out of reach for anyone unable to afford tuition outright.

8) If you or your family are paying off student loans, the House Bill also eliminates of the deduction for student loan interest payments.

9) If you think politics should be kept out of charitable and religious organizations, the House bill would scale back the “Johnson amendment” that prevents churches and other organizations with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from endorsing or opposing political candidates. Great! Now the Sunday sermon can focus on the upcoming election, too! “You’ll go to H-E-Double Hockey Sticks if you vote for that one guy. No, not the pedophile, the other one.”

10) If you have a really bad year in which you accrue large medical bills – think heart attack and bypass surgery, cancer, car accident, mass shooting while you’re at a concert – the House bill repeals the deduction for medical expenses.

11) You kind of actually think that maybe that health insurance you were able to get under ObamaCare is maybe not so bad after all. Heck, you can get a prostate exam / pap smear now, and maybe you don’t need to ask the kid if s/he can “walk it off” when s/he says they think they broke a leg. You quietly think, “oh, thank goodness the repeal bill wasn’t successful”. Well, the Senate bill repeals the ObamaCare individual mandate, which may even further destabilize the existing insurance markets.

12) If you work for or care about charities, the proposal to increase the standard deduction would reduce the number of people who claim the itemized deduction for charitable contributions, which would likely lead to a decline in charitable giving. Increased standard deductions sound good, but other exemptions under current law which allow more deductions to taxpayers are also eliminated, so the increase in deduction for most couples is actually about $1,500, rather than the double the Republicans are trying to say it is.

13) The House bill includes language that would open up 529 college savings accounts to what the legislation calls “unborn children” as designated beneficiaries. And a bill summary specifically defines that as “a child in utero. A child in utero means a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.” “Great! I can start getting a tax benefit by saving for Junior’s college plan in the first trimester!”, you think. Except this is “personhood” language that tries to establish a legal precedent for a human citizen from conception. This is the same type of precedent they are trying to create in the new HHS Strategic Plan, except instead of just being in policy documents, this would write the notion into law. This could have dramatic consequences for the future of women’s reproductive rights.

14) Both bills could trigger an *immediate* $25 billion in Medicare cuts if Congress doesn’t waive sequestration rules for federal spending. Congressional “pay-as-you-go” rules, called PAYGO, require that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) automatically cut mandatory spending if legislation increases the deficit beyond a certain point, which this bill does, yugely. Unless Congress passes a waiver of sequestration rules, OMB would be required to issue a sequestration order within 15 days of the end of the session of Congress to reduce spending in fiscal year 2018 by $136 billion. Medicare can only be cut by a maximum of 4% through the PAYGO rules, which amounts to $25 billion in cuts. Of the remaining $111 billion, CBO estimates that the OMB would only be able to cut $85 billion to 90 billion – basically wiping out all non-exempted accounts, which include agricultural subsidies, Social Services b lock grants used by states to help fund foster care and Meals on Wheels, Customs and Border Patrol operations, and funds in the Student Loan Administration. Here’s a great explanation about the sequestration issue, along with a list of the 228 Federal programs that would face automatic spending cuts, many down to almost zero funding for the next ten years, in order to offset the ballooning deficit this bill will cause.

15) We don’t really know exactly how the tax changes would benefit Donald Trump and his family since he has refused to release his tax returns, in spite of campaign promises made by both him and Mike Pence that he would. However, we can make a few educated guesses. The proposal seeks to eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax. Based on the leaked copy of his 2005 tax return, Trump paid $38 million in taxes on $153 million in income; $31 million—or four-fifths—of his tax payment was due to the alternative minimum tax. Had it not been in place, his effective tax rate for that year would have been just 3.5%.

16) The addition of Republican efforts to change the estate tax would also clearly benefit the Trump family. Currently the tax is assessed on estates worth about $5.5 million per person (or $11 million for a married couple). The Senate wants to permanently double this threshold to $11 million per person and $22 million for a couple—a change that would cost $83 billion, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. This would mostly benefit a few extremely wealthy families.

17) Maybe you just think that a massive overhaul of the entire tax system, as overdue as it is, should maybe be given a little time for deliberation and debate, maybe even at least *try* to be bipartisan, rather than squeak through Congress in 4 weeks, with barely any debate, and with the absolute bare minimum level of support needed under reconciliation rules, just 50 votes in the Senate, with Mike Pence once again coming in to cast a tie-breaking vote on unpopular legislation.

Pick one, pick them all, but call your Senators and register your opposition to this tax bill. If you have a Republican Senator, call a few times. Make sure they know what you think and how you will vote.