Progressives respond to federal tax reform session in Derry

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CONCORD, NH – While First Daughter Ivanka Trump and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin were in Derry April 17 promoting the new federal tax law, Granite State Progress hosted a press conference in Concord to counter the Trump Administration’s message, and the tax law that Gov. Chris Sununu praised as a “net positive.”

Those attending the Concord event released a report from Americans for Tax Fairness and Health Care for America Now, specifying the potential impact of the tax law for families in New Hampshire, and comparing it with the benefits that wealthy corporations, especially health insurance companies and prescription drug manufacturers, receive under the same law.

“The richest 1 percent of New Hampshire taxpayers – people with an average income of at least $1,720,400 –  will receive 23 per cent of the state’s total tax cut. The bottom 60 per cent of taxpayers – people with income less than $83,420 – will get just 15 per cent of the tax cuts. The average tax cut for the richest 1 per cent is $57,320 while the average tax benefit for the lower 60 per cent of New Hampshire people is $630 – under two dollars a day,” Executive Director of the Granite State Progress Education Fund Zandra Rice Hawkins said.

State Sen. Dan Feltes (D-Concord) said the Trump Administration tax reforms will only serve the wealthy.

“I introduced state legislation to close tax loopholes that disproportionately benefit the wealthiest one percent at the expense of middle class Granite Staters and small businesses, and also to provide for a Working Families Property Tax Credit helping Granite State workers with child care or caretaking responsibility afford to stay in their homes. Unfortunately, both proposals have been rejected by the Republican majority. Instead, the Republican majority put through a budget that gives even more tax breaks for big corporations, many with headquarters out-of-state,” Feltes said.

The Associated Press reported about 150 people attended the Derry Opera House event, moderated by former New Hampshire Gov. John H. Sununu – father of current Gov. Chris Sununu.

During a Q&A session, Ivanka Trump highlighted what she identified as the tax overhaul’s broader benefits, adding that businesses are already responding positively by investing in expanded workforces, wage increases and family-friendly benefits.

“A rising tide lifts all ships,” Trump said. “We’re seeing the economy just being fueled by (the) prospect of these tax cuts.”

In touting the benefits of the new tax law, the Trump administration has released the following statistics:

  • Approximately two-thirds, or 65 percent, of all households will see lower marginal income tax rates in 2018, according to a recent analysis by the Tax Policy Center.
  • Taxes are expected to decline across all income groups.
  • 82 percent of middle-income taxpayers are expected to receive an income tax cut.
  • A typical family of four earning $75,000 a year and with two children will see a tax cut of more than $2,000 in 2018.

However, Hawkins called the New Hampshire stop nothing more than a deceptive public relations move to promote tax cuts that will line the pockets of corporate executives.

“Despite a PR campaign meant to convince the public that businesses are passing along their tax-cuts to employees, the reality is that most of the tax cuts are going where many economists had predicted – into the pockets of rich CEOs and other wealthy shareholders,” Hawkins said. “Most health industry companies including the largest pharmaceutical companies like Merck and Pfizer will get massive tax breaks, but will not pass these on to their employees in the form of wage increases or bonuses. The same is true for insurers like UnitedHealth, which will receive $1.7 billion in annual tax breaks but likely not pass these benefits on to customers in the form of lower costs.”

According to Granite State Progress, the tax reform law has the following potential outcomes for thousands of New Hampshire families:

  • 112,000 Granite Staters could lose health coverage because of the proposed full repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Women, people over 50, and people with pre-existing conditions would lose important protections that stop insurance companies from charging them more. Seniors could also face higher costs for prescription drugs because of a key provision in the ACA that gives seniors in Part D a discount on prescription medicines.
  • 13,489 people in New Hampshire could lose food assistance through SNAP.
  • 54,177 could lose services because of cuts to SSDI and SSI.
  • New Hampshire would lose $417,681,383 from highway funding and $71,927,591 from transit funding between 2021 and 2027 resulting also in significant job losses.
  • 79,562 New Hampshire college students could lose federal student aid, 8,257 kids could lose after-school programs and 170 teachers could lose jobs because of proposed education cuts.

Lisa Beaudoin, Executive Director of ABLE NH, a disability rights organization, said, “This tax law will quietly result in deep cuts to a whole range of programs that are critical to people with disabilities, including cuts to Medicaid and other health care programs, food stamps, and disability programs.”

On Thursday, a new “Federal Tax Reform” web page by the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration (NHDRA) was announced, which outlines 22 affected areas of the New Hampshire Business Profits Tax (BPT).  It recently presented a report to the Senate and House Ways & Means committees in a joint economic briefing.