Here in Montana, we are participating in charitable events, taking Christmas strolls down our main streets and enjoying time with our families during an early ski season. Back in Washington, D.C., U.S. Congressman Greg Gianforte is rubber-stamping some of the worst policies our country has ever seen, mostly to the benefit of ultra-wealthy people and multi-national corporations.
As a result of the extreme partisan tax bill rammed through the U.S. Congress — with Congressman Greg Gianforte’s full support — during this holiday season, it’s a holiday giveaway for corporations, billionaires, and lobbyists. For working Montanans, expect these lumps of coal and others in your stocking even before the start the year 2018:
- Say goodbye to most tax benefits for Montana students who want to go to college: Gianforte supported eliminating most tax benefits for Montanans pursuing higher education and the good-paying jobs associated with a college degree. According to the Washington Post, “at the moment, low and middle income Americans can deduct up to $2,500 a year in student loan interest. That benefit would go away in 2018.”
- Increased national debt burdening Montana’s children and future generations: Gianforte supports an increase in America’s national debt of between $1.4 trillion and $2.2 trillion (Center for a Responsible Federal Budget). Who will get to pay for this corporate stocking stuffer? Our children and future generations.
- Massive tax breaks for corporations and multinationals: Gianforte voted to cut corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 20 percent, and eventually 21 percent in the final bill. That sets an even lower rate on the U.S. taxes that multinationals would pay on their foreign profits, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. The burden of paying these taxes is likely to shift to hardworking Americans and families.
- You and your children pay for tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy, corporations and multinationals: Gianforte supports much smaller tax cuts going toward middle-income families. For example, households with incomes between $40,000 and $50,000 would get a percentage increase in after-tax income that is about one-fourth of that of millionaires, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.
- Mandates automatic Medicare cuts of at least $25 billion in 2018 and $400 billion over 10 years: According to the Congressional Budget Office, seniors will pay $25 billion in Medicare cuts in exchange for tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy under Gianforte’s plan. This is the result of automatic spending cuts being triggered because the tax cuts add $1.5 trillion to the national debt.
- Homeowners can no longer deduct mortgage payments; landlords still can: In the first bill that passed the House of Representatives this year, Gianforte voted to eliminate homeowner deductions for mortgage payments. Yet, he voted to allow landlords to continue to do so.
In 2018, we have a chance to send them a message by voting out Gianforte and others like him. Then we can get to work being sure that we all have access to excellent public education and higher education. We can focus on affordable and accessible health care for all Montanans and Americans. If we are going to cut taxes, it should be to empower hard-working families and businesses that employ people — not multinational companies packing away profits thanks to Gianforte.
What do I want for Christmas? Your vote to do just that.
John Heenan is a Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives.