The GOP Tax Scam


February 1, 2018

GOP Tax Scam Fails to Help Middle Class Families

I proudly fought with my fellow Democrats to protect middle class families during consideration of the GOP Tax Scam.  We fought to give working families more money in their pockets by restoring the full State and Local Income Taxes benefit so they were not double-taxed by the federal government. This change alone will cost Illinoisans billions of dollars.

We fought to increase benefits to help families cover child care costs, afford college, save for retirement, pay off student loan debt, afford rental housing, and receive meaningful disaster assistance.

We fought to strengthen economic well-being by expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit to childless workers, non-custodial parents, and young workers – such as foster youth, homeless youth, and apprentices.

We fought to strengthen communities by increasing and making permanent the New Markets Tax Credit – a program that is proven to create tens of thousands of jobs and bring billions of dollars in investment to rural and urban neighborhoods with high unemployment and poverty.  We fought to incentivize affordable housing. We fought to advance community revitalization and infrastructure improvements with advanced refunding bonds.

We fought to encourage corporations to invest in American workers by creating a credit to encourage companies to invest in American workers with living wages and quality health care, retirement and paid leave, rather than blindly trusting corporations to act responsibly. We fought to create a level playing field for domestic companies by applying the same tax rate on profits earned abroad as profits earned at home.

We fought to impose responsible safeguards in case the tax cuts harm families and our economy - such as nullifying the GOP tax cuts if the if the deficit rises, delaying the tax cuts until American families received the $4,000 promised by Republican leadership, and delaying the tax cuts until the US withdraws from current wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria and the deficit is reduced to zero.

Time and again, the Republicans rejected each and every effort to invest in families and communities.The GOP Tax Scam expands benefits for the wealthiest corporations and elite but fails to help working families with child care costs, education costs, retirement savings or rent.  The GOP Tax Scam fails to strengthen the economic well-being of non-custodial parents and younger workers, to invest in community jobs, and to ensure responsible corporate investment in  employees.

The GOP Tax Scam Fails to Help Working Families with Child Care Costs

Republicans rejected my attempt to modernize the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit to address the rising cost of child care so that more working families could get help. The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit currently provides very few working families with meaningful help due to the extremely low phase-out level of $15,000 and value of the credit. For example, in 2014, although 27% of taxpayers in my Congressional District used the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income working families, only 4% of taxpayers benefited from the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. So the need is great, but the help is small.  Yet, the Republicans rejected my amendment that would have made the full credit available to most working familiesby raising the current phase-out to $120,000, doubling the benefit, and ensuring that lower income families received the full benefitto help middle class families.  

Democrats supportedhelping working parents provide their children with quality care so that they can work. Republicans rejected helping these families.

The GOP Tax Scam Fails to Help More Adoptive Families with Costs

Republicans rejected my attempt to improve the ability of middle class families to adopt children. Currently, the Adoption Tax Credit inadvertently creates barriers to permanency for a substantial number of families, especially lower-income families and families adopting children from foster care.  Almost two-thirds of the benefits go to families with incomes over $100,000, yet approximately half of youth adopted from foster care live in families with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level – around $48,000 for a family of 4.  This is why the 150 Member organizations of the Adoption Tax Credit Working group support my effort to make the credit fully accessible to lower-income families.  I have heard from a many Illinoisans about the hardship caused by the lack of federal support.    

Democrats supported helping cover costs for more adoptive families.  Republicans rejected helping these families.

The GOP Tax Scam Fails to Strengthen the Economic Well-Being of Childless and Younger Workers

Republicans rejected my amendment to increase the Earned Income Tax Credit to increase the economic well-being of non-custodial parents and young workers.  Improving the economic well-being of childless workers and noncustodial parents promotes responsible fatherhood and helps these workers provide for their families. Further, I think it is imperative that we lower the age for this credit to 18 to cover struggling younger workers who current law excludes, such as former foster youth, apprentices, and homeless youth.  We know that approximately 20,000 to 25,000 foster youth between 18 and 21 age out of care annually.  By starting at 25, the EITC  disadvantages former foster youth who enter the work force earlier and experience higher rates of poverty than their peers. Further, lowering the age to 18 helps apprentices and other young workers – like graduates of Youth Build and the Paul Simon Job Corps Center - who choose to enter the workforce rather obtain a 4-year college degree. 

Democrats supported promoting economic well-being for these hard-working and qualified workers who are not yet earning living wages.  Republicans failed to support these workers.

The GOP Tax Scam Fails to Help Working Families with Higher Education Costs

Republicans rejected Democratic efforts to dramatically expand financial aid for college. I joined with Rep. Doggett to increase benefits for all students and make the education tax benefits fairer for lower income students and for students attending community colleges. In my Congressional District, relatively few students make use of the American Opportunity Tax Credit because they attend community colleges or are too poor to benefit.  Our amendment would have dramatically helped families pay for college. 

When Americans are struggling with over a trillion in student loan debt, Democrats championed expanding financial help to students.  Republicans rejected helping students.

The GOP Tax Scam Fails to Help Working Families with Retirement Costs

Republicans rejected my effort to improve retirement savings and lower educational debt by allowing employers to make 401(k) matching payments for employees making student-loan payments who cannot afford to contribute to their retirement savings.  Any contribution to retirement savings is particularly limited for millennials struggling with heavy student loan debt.  The average student loan balance for 2016 graduates was $37,172, and only 30% of young workers use 401(k) programs to save for retirement. Research shows that allowing employees to contribute up to 50 percent of the employer match to help pay student loan principle helps workers pay off their loans more quickly and have a better opportunity to invest more in their retirement. My amendment would engage young workers with student loan debt into saving for retirement earlier and enable these workers to repay educational loans faster.

Democrats supported public-private partnerships to resolve America’s student debt crisis and improve worker retirement savings. Republicans opposed helping these workers.

The GOP Tax Scam Fails to Invest in Community Jobs

Republicans rejected my efforts to make permanent and increases the availability of the New Markets Tax Credit – a program that is proven to create tens of thousands of jobs and bring billions of dollars in investment to rural and urban neighborhoods with high unemployment and poverty. This credit exemplifies a smart federal investment.  Since its creation, it has leveraged $80 billion in economic revitalization projects creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. Chicago and my Congressional District typically receive the greatest amount of New Markets Tax Credits in the nation.  For example, as of the end of October, almost $300 million in New Markets allocations have closed leveraging over $600 million dollars in total investment to rebuild Chicago neighborhoods, creating about 3,500 permanent, full-time jobs and serving about 163,000 clients.  This financing brought real jobs and help to real people, including: 5 community health centers, permanent supportive housing, job training programs, rec and educational centers for youth, grocery centers, and business expansion projects.

Democrats championed investing in communities and jobs by increasing the New Markets Tax Credits. Republicans opposed expanding these investments in communities.

The GOP Tax Scam Fails to Ensure Responsible Corporate Treatment of Employees

Republicans rejected my effort with Representative Schakowsky to create the Patriot Employers Tax Credit to encourage companies to invest in American workers.  Rather than blindly trusting corporations to put American workers first and subsidizing corporate special interests, the Patriot Credit would encourage companies to invest in workers by rewarding employers that maintain U.S. headquarters, pay workers an hourly wage of $15 per hour and provide workers with adequate healthcare, retirement, and paid leave options.  Our tax code should work for workers. Our amendment would reward businesses for investing in American jobs, paying fair wages, and supporting their workers via quality retirement, health, and paid-leave programs.

Democrats supported tax policy to encourage companies to put American workers first by growing workers’ paychecks, health, and well-being.  Republicans opposed these protections for workers and checks and balances on corporate responsibility.