GOP tax plan hurts Tennessee’s working families, communities

Tennessee Democratic Party's logoToday (Nov. 17) every Tennessee Republican member of Congress voted to cut Medicare, raise taxes on working families and continue their failed economic policies that are leaving millions of us behind. These are not Tennessee values.

Tennessee families are struggling. They need leaders who will put them first, not big corporations.

“Every Tennessean, no matter who they are, what they look like, or where they live, should have the opportunity to have a better life for themselves and their families. Under this plan, Tennesseans will face an uncertain future. While Democrats work to make sure that Tennesseans are secure in their lives and in retirement, Republicans are still betraying us,” said Mary Mancini, Chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party.

The bill will increase taxes on middle class families and provide massive giveaways to billionaires and wealthy corporations.

Tennessee taxpayers deserve a balanced tax reform plan that strengthens our workforce and creates economic opportunities. But the Republican tax plan is a bad deal for millions of working families across the country who will be worse off under this bill than if Congress had done nothing. On top of permanently raising taxes on millions of Americans, the Republican tax bill will cost American jobs by incentivizing big corporations to move American jobs overseas and making it harder for small businesses on Main Street to compete. It’s long past time for Republicans to get serious about actual tax reform and join Democrats in building an economy that works for everyone.

Here’s a look at the impact of the Republican tax plan in Tennessee. (This commentary is based on a Nov. 16 version of the bill before the vote, and this does not include subsequent modifications, if any.)

The House Republican tax scam hurts teachers in Tennessee, by repealing a tax credit for teachers who buy their own school supplies.

College students in Tennessee will also be hurt, because the House tax scam makes student loans more expensive. More than 208,220 graduates in Tennessee take advantage of the student loan interest deduction House Republicans want to eliminate, saving $1,041 on average.

Tennessee’s seniors will find it harder to save for retirement or cover their medical bills. In fact, the House GOP tax scam would take away all Tennesseans ability to deduct their medical expenses. Nearly 144,826 Tennessee residents deducted their medical expenses in 2014, saving $9,284 on average.

The House Republican tax bill could also force $25 billion in automatic cuts to Medicare next year. More than 1.2 million Tennesseans who rely on Medicare could be at risk.

Workers in Tennessee would be hurt by the corporate tax giveaway. The Republican tax plan incentivizes large companies to move jobs overseas by giving them a 0 percent rate on most foreign profits. While big corporations take advantage of this loophole, small businesses on Main Street will find it harder to compete.

The GOP tax bill threatens to take the state and local tax deduction (SALT) away from tens of millions of households nationwide. The deduction ensures that Americans are not taxed twice on the same income. In Tennessee, more than 400,000 residents would no longer be able to use the state and local deduction to save hard-earned money on their federal tax returns under the House tax bill.

Distressed and rural communities could lose an important program that funds hundreds of hospitals, daycare facilities, alternative energy projects and small businesses. The House GOP plan ends the New Market Tax Credits program, which has spurred over $720 million in community investments in Tennessee and created over 13,700 full-time jobs since 2003.

[Editor’s note: This column was provided by the Tennessee Democratic Party. We have requested that the state’s Republican party also provide columns but have not received any to date. We welcome a diverse range of views from organizations and individuals on our opinion page. Send any opinion page submissions to]