Heenan: 12 lumps of coal from Greg Gianforte this holiday season

John Heenan is a Democratic candidate for Montana’s seat in the House of Representatives.

Here in Montana, we are participating in charitable events, taking Christmas strolls down our main streets and enjoying time with our families during an early ski season. Back in Washington, D.C., however Congressman Greg Gianforte is rubber stamping some of the worst policies our country has ever seen, mostly to the benefit of ultra-wealthy people and multi-national corporations.

As a result of the extreme Republican tax bill being rammed through the U.S. Congress – with Congressman Greg Gianforte’s full support — during this holiday season, it’s a holiday giveaway for corporations, billionaires, and lobbyists. But for working Montanans, expect these lumps of coal in your stocking even before the start the year 2018.

1. “Say Goodbye to Most Tax Benefits” for Montana Students Who Want to Go to College

Gianforte supports eliminating most tax benefits for Montanans pursuing higher education and the goodpaying jobs associated with a college degree.

“Say goodbye to most tax benefits for college. At the moment, low and middle income Americans can deduct up to $2,500 a year in student loan interest. That benefit would go away in 2018. In addition, grad students who get tuition waivers because they teach or do research would now have to pay income tax on the waiver, a big change. For students currently in school, the American Opportunity Tax Credit would remain, which allows a $2,000 credit for higher education expenses.” – The Washington Post, Nov. 16. 2017

2. Reduced Access to High-Quality, Affordable Healthcare for Montanans and Americans

Because of this bill, more than 13,000,000 Americans will lose healthcare coverage due to repeal of the requirement for all Americans to have access to affordable, high-quality healthcare. (Congressional Budget Office). At a minimum, that would mean more than 100,000 Montanans losing access to affordable, high-quality healthcare!

3. Increased National Debt Burdening Montana’s Children and Future Generations

Gianforte supports an increase in America’s national debt that grow to by between $1.4 Trillion and $2.2 Trillion. (Center for a Responsible Federal Budget) Who will get to pay for this corporate stocking stuffer? Our children.

4. Massive Tax Breaks for Corporations and Multinationals

Gianforte supports cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent and setting an even lower rate on the U.S. taxes that multinationals would pay on their foreign profits. (Center for Budget and Policy Priorities) The burden of paying these taxes will be shifted to working Americans.

5. Middle-Income Montana Families Helping to Pay for Tax Cuts for the Ultra-Wealthy, Corporations and Multinationals

Gianforte supports much smaller tax cuts going toward middle-income families. For example, households with incomes between $40,000 and $50,000 would get a percentage increase in after-tax income that is about one-fourth of that of millionaires. (Center for Budget and Policy Priorities)

6. Exempts Wall Street Investment Funds from Requirements Imposed Upon Individual Investors

Greg Gianforte supports exempting massive Wall Street investment funds from requirements that his plan imposes upon individual Montana investors. If Gianforte has his way, when you sell shares in a company in which you have invested you will have to sell the shares you have held for the longest period of time. This forces you to pay the highest possible capital gains tax from the sale of the shares. Gianforte’s plan exempts mutual funds from having to do the same. (Wall Street Journal, Nov. 18, 2017)

7. $18 Billion in Cuts in Medicaid Certain to Reduce Services to Seniors and Needy Families in Montana

Greg Gianforte supports cutting Medicaid by more than $18 billion. In Montana, Medicaid expansion has successfully provided affordable access to high-quality healthcare to tens of thousands of Montanans, reducing the burden of their care on average Montanans, helping our hospitals and medical providers to do their jobs and significantly reducing personal bankruptcies due to extreme medical debt. Gianforte is wrong. (Congressional Budget Office)

8. Homeowners Can No Longer Deduct Mortgage Payments; Landlords Still Can

Here is Forbes Magazine’s Take on Greg Gianforte’s Plan:

“The tax reform proposal’s reduction to homeowner tax subsidies could lead to more people deciding to rent homes because it may be a lower-cost alternative to purchasing. Although the proposal lacks specifics, it does not appear to reduce the tax subsidies afforded to owners of residential rental real estate. Rental property owners may continue to deduct interest paid to finance the purchase of rental properties and can deduct state and local property taxes. These items are not considered itemized deductions; instead, they are deductions in computing net rental income. The disallowance of the state and local tax deduction under the Trump plan only applies to an individual taxpayer’s itemized deductions. Given rental property owners will still receive the federal tax savings from both property mortgage interest and real estate taxes, the Republican proposal creates a stark difference in the tax subsidies.” Forbes Magazine – October 2017

I am continuing my research and watching the events in Washington, D.C., as the extreme-Republicans and Congressman Greg Gianforte continue to push these disastrous policies forward. One of the most troubling aspects of what is taking place is the fact that most members of Congress are not being given time to even read the legislation as they are asked to vote.

This leads toward partisan party-line votes and back-door trading, allowing legislators to ask for deals in order to earn their vote. As we have seen in the past, it is often years before we learn about what deals have been struck in the back rooms of the U.S. Capitol.

We need to put a stop to this. I have no confidence that Greg Gianforte and the current regime have any intentions other than to ram ahead these extreme policies that benefit the ultra-wealthy, large corporations and multinationals. In 2018, we have a chance to send them a message by voting out Gianforte and others like him.

What do I want for Christmas?

Your vote to do just that.

John Heenan is a Democratic candidate for Montana’s seat in the House of Representatives.