By Janis Bowdler, Director, Wealth-Building Policy Project
This New Year’s, many Americans across the country will have quite a bit weighing on their minds at a time when they are supposed to be clinking champagne glasses and making their resolutions for 2013. In less than two weeks, our country will go over the fiscal cliff, resulting in a tax hike for millions of Americans and severe funding cuts to education, health care, and housing programs, to name a few. That is unless Congress and the Obama administration can reach a deal on the federal budget.
For a brief moment earlier this week, it appeared that both sides were willing to compromise.
But that glimmer of hope was fleeting, and it seems negotiations are at a standstill. Republican leadership is now pushing “Plan B,” which the House will vote on tonight at 6:00 p.m.
Simply put, “Plan B” is bad for Hispanic families. It fails to meet NCLR’s principles for a fairer federal budget. The plan further reduces tax liability for those at the top while pushing working families toward poverty.
The wealthiest would be the big winners should this plan pass. Under “Plan B,” millionaires would get an estimated $50,000 tax cut, while 25 million middle class families making less than $250,000 a year would see their income taxes increase by an average of $1,000 apiece. And,millions would lose access to the Child Tax Credit, as well as the Earned Income Tax Credit, which are valuable tools that help prevent many Latinos from falling below the poverty line.
All of this while also allowing the sequester to move forward, gutting critical investments in education, jobs, and housing. For example, in many poor districts, where federal funding covers a substantial portion of their budgets, for every $1 million that a school district receives in federal funding, sequestration will take away $82,000. For districts with disproportionately large Hispanic and Black populations, that loss could have devastating effects.
“Plan B” is not a viable option for Latinos or this country. Thankfully, President Obama has already issued a veto threat. However, that does not mean both sides should stop trying to reach an agreement. We strongly urge House Speaker Boehner and President Obama to put America’s working and middle-class families ahead of politics. We need a fair approach to deficit reduction where everyone pays their share.
We must end this stalemate. Far too much is at stake for the American people. Nobody wins if we go over the fiscal cliff, and the clock is almost up.