POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

Democrats try to ‘shame’ GOP colleagues on tax plan

BY David Cruz, Senior Correspondent |

With a House vote looming on the GOP tax plan this week, Congressional Democrats were at once decrying their lack of input into the plan and calling on their GOP congressional colleagues to put Jersey in front of party.

“This is not a bipartisan piece of legislation, and on Thursday, and on Wednesday and on Tuesday and on Monday, not one Democratic amendment got even one vote,” complained Congressman Bill Pascrell.

“It is a scam,” added Rep. Frank Pallone, “because it is going to raise taxes on a lot of people in our state and it particularly harms our state of New Jersey. So if you really believe in New Jersey and you’re a Jersey person, not one of our Republican colleagues should be voting for this thing this week and I’m not going to call them out by name, but I’m going to say that that is true. They really ought to be ashamed of themselves if they end up voting for this thing.”

Joined by Governor-elect Phil Murphy, five members of the delegation said the bill would cost Jersey taxpayers dearly by eliminating their deductions for state and local taxes, college loan interest, medical expenses and more. Supporters say most New Jersey taxpayers are going to see tax relief from the plan, but opponents, like Jon Whiten of New Jersey Policy Perspective, says that “relief” will be more than offset once it comes time to pay for the cuts in either the House plan or the Senate plan.

“When you actually combine the types of program cuts and budget cuts they’ll have to put through to pay for this tax plan, anyone in the middle class, anyone at the lower end of the income spectrum is going to have a net loss, even if they maybe get a modest tax cut under the plan immediately,” warned Whiten.

And that’s got the governor-elect concerned because his aggressive agenda of progressive programs is going to be expensive and rely on help from the federal government, not to mention Jersey taxpayers.

“This is an assault on the middle class,” said Murphy. “It’s an assault on seniors, even the so-called compromises. Somebody said to me it’s like cutting your hand off, versus cutting half of your hand off. It’s bad no matter how you slice it. It’s a devastating blow. It’s a tax cut for the very wealthy and for big corporations, and the middle class and seniors will pay a huge price, on average several thousands of dollars in households.”

Democrats say they’re all for tax reform, noting that the last tax overhaul – in 1986 – had a Democrat at the center, one who worked with Republicans in the Senate and a Republican president. The only similarity between then and now is a Republican president. The crossing party lines, not so much anymore.