Tax Proposals in DC Will Impact the Disability Community!
On Thursday, November 16, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the Republican tax overhaul, and now it is the Senate’s turn to finalize their version. If either proposal becomes law, there will be major impacts to the disability community.
Unlike with the health care debate, there have already been “No” votes coming from California Republicans in this tax debate, creating opportunity for disability advocates to push for the removal of proposals harmful to people with disabilities.
Below is a list of the major proposals that could have an impact on Californians with disabilities:
1) Massive Cuts To Medicaid. The tax bill as passed by the House would reduce federal revenue by $1.5 – $2.0 trillion over the next decade. The Trump Administration insists that the tax cuts will boost economic growth and pay for themselves, but analysts agree that this scenario is highly unlikely. Rather, in order to minimize the costs of the tax plan, the GOP would likely respond by attempting to further slash entitlement programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, Medicare, and other parts of the federal budget that include funding for housing, job training, and other assistance.
2) Elimination of the Medical Expense Deduction. The House version of the tax bill eliminates the deduction of health-related expenses that are more than 10% of your income. The IRS says about 9 million people take the deduction, and their median income is about $55,000 a year. These expenses would include accessibility equipment, durable medical equipment, and copays for various therapies.
3) Less Development of Affordable Housing. The House bill includes the elimination of tax breaks on bond financing that is used to fund the development of new affordable housing. California Treasurer John Chiang’s office reported that in 2016 alone, California affordable housing projects used $6 billion in private-activity bonds and received $2.2 billion in tax credits linked to those bonds. That helped build or preserve 20,600 affordable units. Some of these projects receive tax exemption specifically to build units for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
4) More Costly Health Insurance. The Senate plans to include in their proposal the elimination of the individual mandate, which is a key cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act. The House did not include this proposal in their passed version. Any and all differences between the House and Senate version will have to be negotiated in conference committee.
UCPLA and our fellow Coalition members encourage you to contact your member of Congress and communicate your concern about the impacts the tax proposals could have on you and your family.
We appreciate your advocacy and support throughout this ongoing fight and look forward to continuing to work with you to ensure that individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities in our communities have the support, access, and resources they need to live full, engaged lives.
Ronald S.. Cohen
President and Chief Executive Officer
United Cerebral Palsy of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties