WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) issued the following statement concerning his vote in opposition to H.R. 1, the misguided tax legislation taken up by the House on December 19, 2017. This bill will saddle the nation with crippling debt and provide little to no tax relief for thousands of residents of Georgia’s Second Congressional District. The bill was approved by the full House of Representatives in a vote of 227 to 203.
“Tax reform must make our tax code more equitable, less complex, and not significantly add to the budget deficit. Unfortunately, the tax legislation approved by the House does not fulfill these requirements:
- It shifts the tax burden from wealthy taxpayers to middle income families by increasing taxes for 86 million middle income households, while providing 83% of the tax cuts to the wealthiest 1%.
- It explodes the national debt by $1.7 trillion over the next decade, effectively mortgaging the future of our nation’s children and grandchildren and jeopardizing the fiscal health of vital programs including Social Security and Medicare.
- It also handicaps the Affordable Care Act, and will lead to the loss of health insurance for 13 million individuals, while raising premiums by 10%.
“The House legislation also lowers or eliminates many tax credits and deductions that are relied upon by middle income Georgia families. It (1) repeals personal exemptions, which are relied upon by large families with multiple children and other dependents; (2) eliminates the casualty loss deduction, which helps families rebuild after storms and disaster; (3) caps the deduction for state and local income and sales taxes, as well as property taxes; (4) limits the mortgage interest deduction to under $750,000 of mortgage debt; and (5) ends the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which is used by employers who hire veterans with a service-connected disability or history of unemployment.
“Additionally, the bill repeals the deductibility of donations made to college athletic departments for sport ticket rights. These donations are used to fund women’s and men’s college sports, and repeal of this deduction will lead to the loss of scholarship opportunities for student athletes.
“I have stated numerous times that I do support tax relief for Georgia families. However, it needs to be fair, balanced, and fiscally responsible both in the short and the long term. The benefits must be shared among Georgians of all income levels rather than just concentrated at the top. The tax legislation approved by the U.S. House of Representatives fails this test.
“As an institution, we in Congress are at a moment of truth. The time is now to put our political differences aside, and to find common ground on a rational tax package that is fiscally responsible, grows the economy, creates jobs, and improves the lives of all Americans.”