Each week until the Va-10 congressional district Democratic Party primary election on June 12, The Blue View will ask all six candidates to respond to a key question on an important issue in 100 words or less.
This week’s question: What one part of the Republican tax reform act would you repeal?
Answers below from candidates, in alphabetical order:
The number one thing I’d change is making the rich pay their fair share on all their income, including capital gains. The current top rate on long term capital gains is 20% for incomes above $418,000. Individuals who make $32,000 a year through traditional earned income pay a higher tax rate (22%) than individuals who make a million dollars annually on investments. In 2011, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the top 1% made approximately 1/3 of their annual income from capital gains. Capital gains should be taxed more equally.
The tax bill is disproportionately favorable to America’s wealthiest individuals and largest corporations, widening America’s inequality gap. One way it does this is by putting an expiration date on the tax cuts for the middle class while making them permanent for corporations. If Congress doesn’t act, millions of middle class families could see a tax increase in under a decade. One important fix to this deeply flawed piece of legislation would be the sunsetting of those corporate tax benefits in favor of more relief for middle class families.
The GOP tax bill does more than cut taxes for the rich. It also does significant and irreversible damage to the environment. By opening Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for oil drilling, Republicans are offering 19 million acres of wilderness to be destroyed by the highest bidder. Furthermore, the bill gave oil and gas companies $25 billion in tax cuts. Not only are Republicans ravaging our natural resources, they’re rewarding companies for doing so. Global warming is perhaps the most difficult challenge we will face in the coming years, and this administration made solving it that much harder.
The GOP tax scam labeled as tax “reform” is a disastrous piece of legislation for hard working Northern Virginia families. There is much wrong in this law that must be reversed, but there are two intertwined aspects of the law that singularly and unfairly burden Northern Virginians. Initially, because of this indivisible hardship, I would immediately seek to repeal the limits on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction whichextracts a disproportionate financial toll through unfair double-taxation. Furthermore, I’d re-institute the Affordable Care Act’s insurance mandate as it is an essential to reduce insurance premium costs and provide everyone access to quality health care.
There are many damaging parts of the GOP tax reform bill, but I am particularly appalled by the cuts to taxes for the top individual tax bracket. The bill cuts taxes for the very wealthy from 39.6% to 37%, and it also raises the exemption threshold for the estate tax. Both of these cuts benefit the wealthiest in America, and as the impact from those cuts affect lower tax brackets, they will be particularly harmful to hardworking, middle-class families.
I would work to repeal the $10,000 cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions. Before the GOP tax scam, we could deduct all local property taxes, as well as state income and sales tax, on a federal tax return. In Northern Virginia, the SALT deduction had been an important vehicle to encourage home ownership, and provide significant needed tax relief for families. Repealing the deduction funnels money away from middle-class households, and into the pockets of the wealthiest 1% of Americans.
Compiled by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick, a member of the Dranesville District Democratic Committee and Virginia Democracy Forward. A former columnist and recipe editor for The Washington Post, she now writes a weekly column for mylittlebird.com.