Tax plan meets opposition in San Juan County
Rally planned to raise awareness about Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
FARMINGTON — A proposed tax reform plan working its way through the U.S. House of Representatives has drawn opposition from both Republicans and Democrats in San Juan County.
Indivisible San Juan, a local political advocacy group, has organized a rally to protest the tax plan. The rally will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday in front of the Farmington Museum at Gateway Park, 3041 E. Main St.
The rally's goal is to raise awareness and encourage people to learn about the proposed tax plan, according to Laura Marshall, a member of the leadership team for Indivisible San Juan.
"If there's one way to put people to sleep, it's taxes," she said.
Marshall said the proposed plan could hurt New Mexicans by eliminating the ability of taxpayers to deduct state income tax. She said she is concerned that the proposed elimination of student loan interest deductions will discourage people from attending college.
"I think a lot of kids are going to say, 'I can't afford to do this,'" she said.
Indivisible San Juan is also concerned that the tax cuts could lead to an increase in the federal deficit. Marshall said an increased deficit could lead to budget cuts for social programs.
"We love our country, and we want to make it a better, stronger place," Marshall said.
According to the summary on congress.gov, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would:
- Reduce the number of income tax brackets, increase the standard deduction and repeal personal exemption deductions.
- Increase the child tax credit and establish a new family tax credit that would allow people to claim nonchild dependents, such as adults with disabilities or elderly parents.
- Limit the amount of mortgage interest that can be deducted, repeal deductions for state and local income tax, and repeal deductions for medical expenses.
- Repeal the estate and generation-skipping transfer tax.
- Reduce the corporate tax rate.
- Repeal the work opportunity tax credit, which is given to businesses that hire people from target groups that have faced barriers to employment. That includes veterans, food stamp recipients and felons, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
The proposed plan also calls for repealing a tax credit for extracting oil and natural gas from marginal producing wells.
MP Schildmeyer, the chairwoman of the San Juan County Democratic Party, said the bill would eliminate or reduce many of the deductions that the middle-class people rely on, such as student loan and mortgage interest.
"The Democrats are unified in their opposition," she said.
Schildmeyer said the Democratic Party wants the tax reform process to include public hearings and negotiations.
Drew Degner, chairman of the San Juan County Republican Party, said the plan is too complex and includes too many corporate subsidies.
"If it's truly fair, then it ought to be more of a flat tax," Degner said.
Degner said any tax reform should be accompanied by a cut in government spending.
For more information about the rally, email IndivisibleSanJuan@gmail.com.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.