Corporations and the rich will pay less in taxes. Public education will be weakened. Revenge on Democratic-leaning states will be extracted.
This trifecta of disastrous results comes from the budget bill passed in late October by the House and by the Senate a few days earlier.
The primary objective of President Trump’s and the congressional Republicans’ proposals to rewrite the federal tax code is to lower federal taxes on corporations and on the richest of our citizens. To find the funds to pay for this, the Republicans want to curtail the amount of local and state taxes that individuals off-set against their federal tax liability. That provision is an indirect way that the federal government uses to encourage support for the schools.
Citizens, especially those in suburban school districts in states which tax themselves more so that their children can have a better education, will likely have to pay higher federal taxes if the Republicans succeed.
What the heck could our leaders possibly be thinking? Has their hostility to public schools so blinded them that they don’t care about the harm they will cause? Is helping the rich more important than educating our children?
Politics is a major factor behind the Republican strategy. The areas where people support their public schools with higher taxes tend to be in the northern parts of the country. Those areas recently have voted more often for Democrats than for Republicans.
So, the Republicans can reward their friends—corporate leaders and the richest people in the country, by penalizing those states that have not voted for them. Intentionally ignored is that many children will be less prepared for the future.
The higher-spending states are more likely to have students who achieve at higher levels than do students in the lower-spending states. The most dramatic contrast is between students in Massachusetts and students in Mississippi with the northern students doing much better than the southern students.
In sum, the Republican tax plan will lessen support for school districts and states which better educate their students through higher local taxes. Thereby, these kids’ futures will be jeopardized and the country will find it harder to compete economically in the world. But, the President and the Congress will be happy because they got their revenge and rewarded their friends.
What a way to govern.
This commentary written by Jack Jennings first appeared in the HuffingtonPost on October 27, 2017. Some wording has been updated in this November 11th version.