Congress narrowly approves huge tax giveaway to corporations paid for by students and working families

Funding for more than 130,000 education jobs at risk due to partial elimination of state and local tax deduction

Congressional Republicans on Tuesday narrowly approved a massive tax giveaway to the wealthiest and corporations paid for by students and working families. In addition to adding more than $1 trillion to the nation’s debt, Congress voted to partially repeal the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act, which would leave 13 million Americans uninsured and result in drastic spikes in insurance premiums for millions more. The bill also expands an education tax loophole that would further benefit the wealthy and allow them to set aside money for private school expenses — essentially a voucher program for wealthy families.

The partial elimination of the century-old state and local tax deduction also puts in jeopardy the ability of states and local communities to fund public education, potentially risking state funding for more than 130,000 education jobs according to a new NEA analysis. Congress approved the bill despite warning signs from the non-partisan Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, in a report titled “A Punishing Decade for School Funding,” that public investment in K-12 schools has declined dramatically in a number of states over the last decade.

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García issued the following statement:

“Hypocrisy is at the heart of the tax bill approved by Congressional Republicans. It reveals the ill-conceived and misguided priorities of Republican leaders in Washington. It is nothing more than a massive transfer of wealth – a giveaway to corporate special interests and the wealthy paid for by working families and students.

“The tax bill is misguided because expanding education tax loopholes — vouchers for the rich — to allow wealthy families to stash away money for private school will hurt students and neighborhood public schools.

“The hypocrisy at the heart of the tax bill is unmistakable. The bill largely eliminates state and local deductions for working people but keeps it for corporations. Millions of hard-working people will see their taxes increase. On top of it all, this bill will take away health care coverage for 13 million Americans and cause premiums to spike for millions more. In the end, this disastrous bill will push crushing debt and tax increases onto the middle class while Medicare, Medicaid, and education will take the brunt of the cuts.

“Public schools have not fully recovered from the Great Recession. Now, by eliminating the state and local tax deduction, Congress just voted to blow a hole in state and local revenue to support public education, potentially risking the jobs of more than 130,000 educators, exposing public school students to serious and potentially damaging consequences — ballooning class sizes and overcrowded classrooms that deprive students of one-on-one attention.

“It is deeply disappointing that too many members of Congress chose to stand with corporate special interests and the wealthy, instead of with working families and students. The choice they made today was the wrong one for our nation and will be disastrous for our students.”