No reason for holiday cheer with GOP tax plan

While the GOP would like the public to believe that working families will benefit from their tax plan, the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. 

The innocently named “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” that Republicans in the House of Representatives recently passed is meant to distract people from the fact that the tax cuts are aimed at the richest Americans and largest corporations and that the proposal is unlikely to help create American jobs, lead to better wages, or support our workers and families. In fact, the bill will increase taxes on half a million low and middle-class households in Nevada by 2027.

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What’s more, the GOP’s tax plan is a direct attack on taxpaying Latinos, including many in Nevada, by proposing to introduce new eligibility requirements for Child Tax Credit (CTC). The power of these tax credits is clear: the CTC is linked to higher test scores, increased high school graduation rates, and higher likelihood of college attendance.

While politicians claim that reform measures would simplify the tax code, they instead add more burden, complexity, and red tape for hard working immigrants raising children. Under the Senate proposal, the refundable portion of the CTC is denied to children without a Social Security Number (SSN). The House bill also requires that anyone claiming the proposed family tax credit must include the name and SSN for each child in order to qualify for both the refundable and nonrefundable portions of the CTC. This would unfairly harm hard working immigrant families that pay taxes. They deserve the same fair treatment as any other hard working family in Nevada and across the country who claim the Child Tax Credit. 

Eligibility restrictions will threaten tens of thousands of Latino Nevadans, including DREAMers and children who are U.S. citizens. Additionally, requiring people to include an SSN for each of their children to be eligible for the CTC could affect up to 43,000 families in Nevada, stripping away resources used for food, childcare, housing and other expenses. The CTC is also essential to the security of working families. In 2015, it’s estimated that 21,000 Nevada Latinos were lifted out of poverty because of the CTC.  

As the Senate prepares to vote on their tax proposal, will Republicans side with working families or big corporations? Will they help low-income Americans or the top 1 percent? It's past time that the Senate stand up for working families and refuse to cater to the top 1 percent and big corporations. According to the Congressional Budget Office, by 2027, workers and families making less than $75,000 a year will all be losing money due to the GOP’s tax plan. 

If we want to have an America where it is possible for all to thrive, we must have tax reform that is fair and takes the needs of working families into account before the desires of corporate America.  

Catherine Cortez Masto is a U.S. Senator from Nevada. Janet Murguía is President and CEO of UnidosUS, formerly known as the National Council of La Raza (NCLR).