Pennsylvania Can't Afford Biden's Tax Increases

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Posted by John Kartch on Saturday, May 18th, 2019, 1:03 AM PERMALINK

 

Today at 1:00 p.m. Joe Biden will host a major rally in Philadelphia, where he will repeat his vow to repeal the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

“First thing I’d do is repeal those Trump tax cuts,” said Biden on May 4 in South Carolina.

"When I'm president, if God willing I am, we're going to reverse those Trump tax cuts," Biden said this week in New Hampshire.

Biden's promise to repeal the tax cuts is a threat to raise taxes. Repeal of the tax cuts would hit Pennsylvania hard:

  • Pennsylvania households would lose their tax cut -- a 24.5 percent tax cut on average, according to data reported by H&R Block.
     
  • Pennsylvania residents would again be forced to pay the highly regressive Obamacare individual mandate tax. 166,680 Pennsylvanians paid the tax totaling $108,842,000 according to the most recent IRS annual statistics ((2016). 81 percent of people hit with the tax made less than $50,000 a year, and 40 percent made less than $25,000 a year. This tax was one of the many violations by Biden of his pledge against any and all middle class taxes.
     
  • 840,000 Pennsylvania households who claim the Child Tax Credit would see the credit slashed in half from $2,000 to $1,000.
     
  • 4.4 million Pennsylvania households who claim the standard deduction would see it slashed in half. (TCJA nearly doubled the standard deduction from $6,300 to $12,200 for an individual and from $12,600 to $24,000 for a family.)
     

The tax cuts are helping a long list of Pennsylvania businesses give pay increases, benefit increases, and bonuses. For example:

  • Uncle Charley's Sausage (Vandergrift, PA) hired new employees, purchased new equipment including a new sausage stuffer, and added a new production line.
     
  • Hudson Facades (Linwood, PA) increased base pay and put $3,000 into every factor worker's 401(k) account.
     
  • Almo Corporation, the Philadelphia-based appliance distributor, is investing in a new distribution center and an ongoing headquarters renovation that can accommodate 65 additional employees.
     
  • Guy Chemical Company (Somerset, PA) increased wages, bonuses, and investment in new equipment including a new forklift, new laboratory furnishings, updated computer equipment, and a new software system.
     
  • Dollar Bank (Pittsburgh, PA) gave $2,000 permanent raises for employees making $60,000 or below.
     

If Biden repealed the tax cuts, Pennsylvanians would also be stuck paying higher utility bills because the corporate tax rate would revert back to 35 percent. Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the corporate rate was reduced to 21 percent, and as a direct result PA utility companies passed on these savings to customers in the form of lower electric, water, and gas bills.

Examples include Pike County Light & Power Company, PPL Electric Utilities Corporation, Wellsboro Electric Company, West Penn Power Company, PECO Energy Company, Peoples Gas Company, UGI Central Penn Gas Inc., Pennsylvania American Water Company, and Citizens Electric Company of Lewisburg.

From a nationwide perspective, if Biden repeals the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the following would happen:

  •  A family of four earning the median income of $73,000 would see a $2,000 tax increase.
     
  • A single parent (with one child) making $41,000 would see a $1,300 tax increase.
     
  • Millions of low and middle income households would be stuck paying the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
     
  • Utility bills would go up in all 50 states as a direct result of the corporate income tax increase.
     
  • Small employers will face a tax increase due to the repeal of the 20% deduction for small business income.
     
  • The USA would have the highest corporate income tax rate in the developed world.
     
  • Taxes would rise in every state and every congressional district.
     
  • The Death Tax would ensnare more families and businesses.
     
  • The AMT would snap back to hit millions of households.
     
  • Millions of households would see their child tax credit cut in half.
     
  • Millions of households would see their standard deduction cut in half, adding to their tax complexity as they are forced to itemize their deductions and deal with the shoebox full of receipts on top of the refrigerator.
     

As noted by the New York Times, thanks to the GOP tax cuts, “Most people got a tax cut.”

The NYT also stated: “To a large degree, the gap between perception and reality on the tax cuts appears to flow from a sustained — and misleading — effort by liberal opponents of the law to brand it as a broad middle-class tax increase.”

The Washington Post also stated: “Most Americans received a tax cut.”

More evidence of the benefits flowing from the tax cuts can be found in a recent H&R Block report, which stated, “overall tax liability is down 24.9 percent on average.”

In Biden's home state of Delaware, the report found that residents received a 24.6% reduction in their taxes, on average.

Biden and the rest of the 2020 Democrats have thoroughly convinced themselves the tax issue is dead, but Americans will have their own say at the ballot box.

"Joe Biden is not Methuselah. He is Walter Mondale part deux," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. In 1984 Mondale famously promised to raise taxes if elected. He lost to Ronald Reagan in the electoral college 525-13, winning only his home state of Minnesota and the District of Columbia.

See also:

Biden: “First thing I’d do is repeal those Trump tax cuts.”

Joe Biden broke his middle class tax pledge

Kamala Harris Vows Repeal of Tax Cuts “on Day One”

“Mayor Pete” Calls for Steep Tax Hike on Homes and Businesses

Biden: “When I’m President, if God willing I am, we’re going to reverse those Trump tax cuts.”

 

 

Photo Credit: Marc Nozell/Flickr

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Biden, Harris Threaten New Hampshire with Tax Hikes

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Posted by Adam Sabes on Friday, May 17th, 2019, 2:36 PM PERMALINK

Democrat presidential candidates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris both promised to repeal the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act while making campaign stops in New Hampshire this week, a move that would impose massive tax increases on New Hampshire households and businesses.

“When I’m president, if God Willing I am, we’re going to reverse those Trump tax cuts,” Biden said Monday in Manchester.

“On day one, we gonna repeal that tax bill,” Harris said on Wednesday in Nashua.

Their promise to repeal the tax cuts is a promise to raise taxes. Repeal of the tax cuts would hit New Hampshire hard. If Biden or Harris repeal the tax cuts:

  • New Hampshire households would lose their tax cut -- a 25.2 percent tax cut on average, according to data reported by H&R Block.
  • New Hampshire residents would be forced to pay the highly regressive Obamacare individual mandate tax. In 2016, 24,350 New Hampshire residents paid the tax totaling $17,392,000. 76 percent of people that paid the individual mandate tax made less than $50,000 a year, and 33 percent made less than $25,000 a year.
  • 91,000 New Hampshire households who claim the Child Tax Credit would see their credit slashed in half from $2,000 to $1,000. 
  • 476,000 New Hampshire households who claim the standard deduction would see it slashed in half. (The TCJA nearly doubled the standard deduction from $6,300 to $12,000 for an individual and from $12,600 to $24,000 for a family.)
     

From a nationwide perspective, if Biden and Harris repeal the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the following would happen:

  •  A family of four earning the median income of $73,000 would see a $2,000 tax increase.
  • A single parent (with one child) making $41,000 would see a $1,300 tax increase.
  • Millions of low and middle income households would be stuck paying the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • Utility bills would go up in all 50 states as a direct result of the corporate income tax increase.
  • Small employers will face a tax increase due to the repeal of the 20% deduction for small business income.
  • The USA would have the highest corporate income tax rate in the developed world.
  • Taxes would rise in every state and every congressional district.
  • The Death Tax would ensnare more families and businesses.
  • The AMT would snap back to hit millions of households.
  • Millions of households would see their child tax credit cut in half.
  • Millions of households would see their standard deduction cut in half, adding to their tax complexity as they are forced to itemize their deductions and deal with the shoebox full of receipts on top of the refrigerator.
     

As noted by the New York Times, thanks to the GOP tax cuts, “Most people got a tax cut.” The NYT also stated: “To a large degree, the gap between perception and reality on the tax cuts appears to flow from a sustained — and misleading — effort by liberal opponents of the law to brand it as a broad middle-class tax increase.”

The Washington Post also stated: “Most Americans received a tax cut.”

See also:

Biden: “First thing I’d do is repeal those Trump tax cuts.”

Joe Biden broke his middle class tax pledge

Kamala Harris Vows Repeal of Tax Cuts “on Day One”

“Mayor Pete” Calls for Steep Tax Hike on Homes and Businesses

Biden: “When I’m President, if God willing I am, we’re going to reverse those Trump tax cuts.”

 

Photo Credit: Marc Nozell/Flickr


Buttigieg Wants Carbon Tax

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Posted by John Kartch on Friday, May 17th, 2019, 2:08 PM PERMALINK

Democrat 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg wants to impose a carbon tax on the American people, his campaign announced Thursday.

The Issues tab of the Buttigieg campaign site states:

Implement a Green New Deal with all available tools including a carbon tax-and-dividend for Americans, and major direct investment to build a 100% clean energy society.

A carbon tax would make life more expensive for all Americans, and would hit working households especially hard.

In Canada for example, the carbon tax has proven so expensive that a school district had to cut bus service for 400 children. The school district is struggling to pay a $3.3 million carbon tax bill.

As reported by the Calgary Herald:

A public school trustee is asking if the province would consider exempting school boards from the carbon tax after administrators revealed this week that the Calgary Board of Education paid about $3.3 million last year for the levy and has been forced to take buses off the roads.

A recent audit detailed the burden of the carbon tax on school fuel costs, school heating costs, and school electrical costs:

Breton, in response to questions from Davis about the CBE’s audited financial statements from 2017-18, estimated the CBE pays about $300,000 in a given school year for the carbon tax on transportation fuel, including school buses, about $1.4 million a year for natural gas to heat CBE buildings and a rough estimate of about $1.5 million for electricity, totaling up to about $3.3 million a year.

400 students were kicked off buses, creating a difficult situation for families. As noted by the Herald:

As a result, fewer buses have meant fewer stops, longer commutes and more difficult schedules for families. Many students have also been transferred to public transit.

Busing has been such a challenge for families, adjusting to schedules. It’s a bit challenging that we’re in a situation where we’ve had to remove almost 400 students from buses in order to pay for the carbon tax in addition to the other impacts on the organization.

The Buttigieg call for a carbon tax is in lockstep with the official Democrat party platform, which endorses a carbon tax. The Republican platform is opposed to any carbon tax.

“Mayor Pete” is shaping up to be a big fan of tax increases. He recently endorsed a steep tax increase on homes and businesses while kowtowing to union bosses in Los Angeles.

Already overtaxed local residents shot back: “It will make my increased property taxes very difficult for me to pay. I’m struggling. Just because I own a home it doesn’t mean I have deep pockets, it’s the exact opposite and this could break me,” said resident Maria Fischer, on Twitter.

Voters have consistently rejected carbon taxes, even in blue states. Carbon tax-imposing politicians are routinely defeated at the ballot box, as shown by this Americans for Tax Reform timeline.

See Also:

“Mayor Pete” Calls for Steep Tax Hike on Homes and Businesses

Biden: “First thing I’d do is repeal those Trump tax cuts.”

Joe Biden broke his middle class tax pledge

Kamala Harris Vows Repeal of Tax Cuts “on Day One”

Biden: “When I’m President, if God willing I am, we’re going to reverse those Trump tax cuts.”

Photo Credit: Andrew Brau/Flickr


ATR Launches Shareholder Advocacy Forum to Counter Rise of Corporate Activists

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Posted by James Setterlund on Friday, May 17th, 2019, 2:08 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform today launched the Shareholder Advocacy Forum, a project to preserve the long-term interests of shareholders and counter the rise of activist shareholder proposals that often force a company into a stance on an unrelated social policy. The Shareholder Advocacy Forum’s goal is to protect all shareholders’ interests and to maximize their return on investment, including pension fund beneficiaries and small shareholders who rely on the continued growth of these investments for their retirement planning.

SAF will also examine the role proxy advisor firms play in providing recommendations to shareholders. These supposed conflict-of-interest-free organizations have been cited as a reason for the chilling effect in the IPO market. Existing public companies have seen these firms become more activist in nature when providing recommendations and the role their recommendations have had in undermining the long-term interests of company’s shareholders. SAF plans to hold directors and executives accountable when they place the social agenda of some ahead of their fiduciary duty to all shareholders.

SAF will also be a voice at the table to provide support for legislative and regulatory proposals and serve as an educational platform to emphasize why it is important for shareholders to continue participating in the voting process. In addition, SAF will maintain that decisions of private institutions and shareholders should be respected and protected from government intrusion, including instances of shareholders supporting mergers and acquisitions.

SAF will publish recommendations on shareholder proposals, highlights from recently published research, and letters supporting and opposing legislation. James Setterlund will serve as the Executive Director of SAF.

Photo Credit: Walmart - flickr


Trump recovers nearly $930 million from California’s failed bullet train

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Posted by Michael Palicz on Friday, May 17th, 2019, 11:05 AM PERMALINK

The Trump administration canceled its agreement with California to fund the state’s failed bullet train project, according to a letter from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) released Thursday.

FRA Administrator Ron Batory announced FRA would de-obligate the $928.6 million previously set aside for the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA)  by the Obama administration in 2010, citing  CHRSA had “repeatedly failed to comply with the terms of the FY10 Agreement and has failed to make reasonable progress on the Project.”

Earlier this year, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the state would be pulling the plug on its plan to build a bullet train connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco after cost estimates had ballooned to roughly $98 billion. The project received roughly $3.5 billion in Obama “stimulus” spending for “shovel ready” projects. After California spent 11 years and billions of taxpayer dollars, the bullet train project has yet to deliver a single passenger.

Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, issued the following statement in support of President Trump's decision: 

President Trump protected all American taxpayers when he stopped a planned billion dollar giveaway to the failed California "bullet train." Trump put a stop to the oldest big spending trick in the book---California was hoping its dramatic, expensive failure would be an argument for “more spending.” California’s failed bullet train is not an argument for throwing more money at failure. Thank you President Trump for stopping this madness and saving us all from wasting another billion dollars.

Americans for Tax Reform applauds President Trump for recovering nearly $930 million of taxpayer money from California’s train to nowhere. As Democrats continue to push the Green New Deal and advocate for “high-speed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary,” taxpayers should remember the lesson of California’s failed bullet train.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

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Binding Arbitration for Medicare Would Establish Backdoor Price Controls

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Friday, May 17th, 2019, 9:00 AM PERMALINK

Recent media reports indicate that a top aide to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wants to impose binding arbitration into the healthcare system as part of drug pricing reform.

This proposal would specifically apply a dispute settlement process to physician-administered drugs under Medicare Part B but could easily be applied to other parts of the healthcare system.

Binding arbitration is a flawed proposal. While there are many unknowns behind how the proposal would work in practice, it should be concerning as it would be another way for Washington bureaucrats to implement backdoor price controls on lifesaving medicine. 

Binding arbitration would be used to settle disputes between two different parties without going through the court system. Each party appeals to a neutral third party that considers the options and chooses one of them as the binding decision.

Under this proposal,  binding arbitration would apply when a subjective value of a drug is exceeded, for new drugs entering the market, and for drugs with no competition. HHS would pick a supposedly neutral third party to arbitrate between the department and the drug manufacturer.

This arrangement creates a critical problem — why would HHS pick panels that routinely rule against the department in arbitration? This would lead to selection bias which would all but ensure that HHS would be able to establish price controls on lifesaving medicine.

Binding arbitration resembles Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which instituted price controls and rationing within the Medicare system. Thankfully, Congressional Republicans repealed the IPAB.

Currently, Medicare Part B drugs are calculated based on market prices using a formula which calculates the “Average Sales Price” of U.S. drugs. This formula factors in discounts negotiated between payers, hospitals, and health plans. In recent years, this system led to a 0.8 percent decrease in the cost of Top 50 Medicare Part B drugs. 

Using government power to lower prescription drug costs would have the unfortunate effect of reducing access to lifesaving medicine for American healthcare consumers.

Price controls reduce access to lifesaving medicine for patients. As noted in a recent study by the Galen Institute, roughly 290 new medical substances were launched worldwide between 2011 and 2018. Of these medicines, the U.S. had access to 90 percent. In contrast, foreign countries have access to far fewer. The United Kingdom had 60 percent of medicines, Japan had 50 percent, and Canada had just 44 percent.

The United States is a world leader in research and development of lifesaving medicine because our healthcare system is based around the free market. Rejecting price controls in all forms is essential to maintaining a healthcare system that encourages innovation and near-total access to lifesaving medicine.

While binding arbitration may sound like a reasonable proposal, it would actually put healthcare policy in the hands of faceless Washington bureaucrats and should be rejected by policymakers.

Photo Credit: Flickr


Second Chance Act Would Strengthen Communities, Boost Economy, Reduce Crime

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Posted by Steven Selleck on Friday, May 17th, 2019, 8:59 AM PERMALINK

The North Carolina state Senate recently passed the “Second Chance Act”, a solid criminal justice reform bill that will help former non-violent offenders, who have maintained a clean record since their release, fully reintegrate with society.  

The bill removes barriers to economic opportunities for former offenders, allowing them to expunge non-violent offenses from their records if they have gone 10 years or more under the following conditions: no new charges, completed sentencing, paid all fines. The one-time fee of $175 is far more reasonable than the costly legal hurdles that people have to deal with now.

Senate Bill 562 was passed unanimously, with strong support from both Democrats and Republicans. This coming the day after Rebecca Tisdale, former non-violent criminal and founder of Justice Served, NC, marched along with over 1,000 supporters of the criminal reform bill.

Her story shows the personal impact of these reforms, as ABC 11 reports, “For Tisdale, it's a whole new life. At 40, she is finally able to get a driver's license. She's now enrolled at Wake Tech, and, hope has returned.”

Now the bill needs to be approved by the North Carolina House. The House has every reason to support the bill. This legislation is a win for taxpayers and communities. People who have proven they have moved on from their crimes should have the chance to leave that past behind, build new lives, and contribute to their communities. The opportunity to clear one’s record is an important incentive for people to avoid committing another crime later.

According to Tisdale, “It’s a second chance. It’s a big chance”. 

Photo Credit: Arleigh Greenwald/Flickr


Connecticut Could Become Most Tolled State in the Nation

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Posted by Griffin Namin on Thursday, May 16th, 2019, 1:46 PM PERMALINK

Connecticut lawmakers could vote any time on a measure to impose a costly new tolling system on the state.

Ned Lamont, Connecticut’s first-term Governor, wants electronic tolling to be placed on vehicles, cars and trucks, on all three major highways, I-84, I-91, I-95, and Route 15 - which spans from Stamford to Hartford.

The tolls put forth in Mr. Lamont’s budget would appear on every single major route in the State. Studies have found that the brunt of the burden will be put on the taxpayers of Connecticut, almost 60-75% of the revenue brought in to the state, from tolling, would be paid by residents.

Proponents argue the state’s recently-passed transportation lockbox makes the tolls user fees and a non-issue. Having the lockbox is better than not having one, but legislators have ways to get around it if they want to.

Currently, the State faces a political dilemma as well; if tolls are put in, the State could lose the $528.6 million from the federal government that has been afforded to the state because they do not have tolls.

“The Reason Foundation found that Connecticut ranked 44th in cost effectiveness for highway performance. They found that Connecticut spends nearly $480,000 for each mile of road versus a national average is just over $160,000 per mile.

“The Foundation reports that administrative costs significantly contribute to the $480,000 price. Connecticut spent more than $83,000 per mile in administrative costs compared to $10,000 per mile nationally. Connecticut still outspends the national total average by more than $250,000 per mile even if those costs are subtracted.”

The Hartford Courant, recently outlined five reasons why tolling in Connecticut will be bad:

  • It already costs too much to drive in state
  • It will take a very long time for the State to see return on the tolls
  • It is another tax hike
  • Pennsylvania is $11 billion in debt from attempting to put in tolls
  • Chaos for drivers – Exits are a mile apart in Southwestern Connecticut, you will suffocate them

Another concern is that jobs and businesses would be impacted. With higher taxes, would come lost jobs, lower wages, and another fiscal crisis for the state. Peter Malone, the CEO of Thurston Foods, a Wallingford-based supplier of lunch foods, has stated that if tolls are put in, his business of 215 employees, 60 trucks, and 3,000 customers would cost his business close to $250,000 per year alone.

Connecticut residents already pay a huge tax burden, including on transportation related costs.  According to the American Petroleum Institute, Connecticut drivers pay 43.8 cents per gallon in state taxes. In addition, residents of the State of Connecticut also pay an $18 gasoline tax, which was found to be the 7th highest in the nation.

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NM Senate and AL-05 Candidates Join Cadre of Federal 2020 Signers

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Posted by Adam Radman, Victoria Snitsar on Thursday, May 16th, 2019, 1:10 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) thanks New Mexico Senate candidate Gavin Clarkson and Alabama 5th District candidate Chris Lewis for signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. By signing the Pledge, these gentlemen have made the commitment to oppose and vote against any and all tax increases as federal officeholders.

Gavin Clarkson is running in the Republican primary for New Mexico’s open Senate seat, currently held by retiring Democrat Tom Udall.  The Cook Political Report rates this seat as “Likely Democrat”.

Clarkson served in the Trump administration’s Department of the Interior as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Policy and Economic Development – Indian Affairs. 

Chris Lewis is running in a Republican primary for Alabama’s 5th congressional district seat, currently held by Rep. Mo Brooks. Brooks has signed and kept the Pledge as an elected official. The Cook Political Report rates this seat as “Solid Republican”.

Lewis is a retired U.S. Naval Officer, who served multiple tours in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Pledge is offered to every candidate for state and federal office and to all incumbents. Nearly 1,400 elected officials, from state representatives to governors and US Senators, have signed the Pledge.

ATR will continue to follow these races closely and will provide additional updates as more candidates sign the Pledge.

Photo Credit: flickr dchelyadnik


Kamala Harris: “On day one, we gonna repeal that tax bill”


Posted on Thursday, May 16th, 2019, 10:42 AM PERMALINK


Kamala Harris repeated her threat to repeal the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act “on Day One” if she became president, during a campaign stop in New Hampshire on Wednesday.

“On day one, we gonna repeal that tax bill that benefited the top one percent and the biggest corporations in this country,” Harris said. [Click here for video]

While Harris was speaking at a NAACP fundraiser last week, she threatened to “get rid of the whole thing,” if elected president.

A promise to repeal the tax cuts is a promise to raise taxes. If the tax cuts were repealed:

  • A family of four earning the median income of $73,000 would see a $2,000 tax increase.
  • A single parent (with one child) making $41,000 would see a $1,300 tax increase.
  • Millions of low and middle income households would be stuck paying the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • Utility bills would go up in all 50 states as a direct result of the corporate income tax increase.
  • Small employers will face a tax increase due to the repeal of the 20% deduction for small business income.
  • The USA would have the highest corporate income tax rate in the developed world.
  • Taxes would rise in every state and every congressional district.
  • The Death Tax would ensnare more families and businesses.
  • The AMT would snap back to hit millions of households.
  • Millions of households would see their child tax credit cut in half.
  • Millions of households would see their standard deduction cut in half, adding to their tax complexity as they are forced to itemize their deductions and deal with the shoebox full of receipts on top of the refrigerator.
     

As noted by the New York Times: “Most people got a tax cut.” The NYT also stated: “To a large degree, the gap between perception and reality on the tax cuts appears to flow from a sustained — and misleading — effort by liberal opponents of the law to brand it as a broad middle-class tax increase.”

The Washington Post also stated: “Most Americans received a tax cut.”

More evidence of the benefits flowing from the tax cuts can be found in a recent H&R Block report, which stated, “overall tax liability is down 24.9 percent on average.”

In Harris’s home state of California, the report found that residents received a 27.1% reduction in their taxes, on average. In the state where Harris made the tax hike threat – New Hampshire – residents received a 25.2 percent tax cut on average.

See also:

Biden: “First thing I’d do is repeal those Trump tax cuts.”

Joe Biden broke his middle class tax pledge

“Mayor Pete” Calls for Steep Tax Hike on Homes and Businesses

Kamala Harris Vows Repeal of Tax Cuts “on Day One”

Biden: “When I’m President, if God willing I am, we’re going to reverse those Trump tax cuts.”

 


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