PITTSBURG — In protest of the GOP tax bill, people stood outside U.S. Senator Jerry Moran’s (R-Kansas) Pittsburg office Saturday.
When the protest was over they left Moran notes expressing their dislike of his support of the Senate bill.
The messages were left on sticky notes and poster boards which said, “Why should corporations be allowed to deduct expenses, but teachers should not?,” “Protect the Arctic” and “Tax cuts for wage increase are absurd,” and “KOCH Sucker.”
Moran released a statement after voting in favor of the Senate’s tax reform bill which he said the current tax system is outdated and complicated.
“... I supported a fiscally-responsible, pro-growth tax reform bill that benefits middle-class families and enables businesses to compete in a 21st century economy,” he said in the statement. “Our economy is poised for growth and tax reform will put us on the path to even greater economic success.”
Pittsburg Resident Megan Johnson said she was protesting because Moran voted in favor of the tax bill.
“We came in front of Senator Moran’s office because he voted in favor of a tax bill that is going to add $1.4 trillion to the deficit,” she said. “They are making permanent tax cuts for the wealthiest in our country.
“Nonpartisan studies have shown in 10 years middle America is going to see a tax increase as a result.”
One of the protesters, Pittsburg Resident Laura Washburn, said she sees the passing of the bill as “bad news.”
“We’ve already tried this tax experiment in Kansas and we know it fails, so seeing that promoted for the whole country is bad news indeed,” she said.
Johnson said she feels the senators should take more time to read the bill and not doing so makes the process undemocratic, which is 500 pages long, she said.
“It was shoved through in the night without senators even reading the bill,” she said. “Even if there were good things about the bill the process has been completely undemocratic.
“There should have been hearings, listening to the people's opinion and time to read the bill.”
Johnson said she thinks some of the items cut should not have been.
“There are some atrocious little things added on here,” she said. “For instance, I’m a teacher and they have ended the tax credit for teachers to spend some of their own money on school supplies yet corporations can still write off their supplies. Why should a teacher not be able to?”
She said drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve in Alaska should not have been tacked on to the bill.
Johnson said studies show the repealing of the mandate for health insurance through Obamacare will cause health insurance premiums to increase.
Pittsburg Resident and Retired Nurse Marcia Weeks agreed.
Weeks said tax breaks for billionaires is harmful to those who are not.
“I think it is unconscionable that they’re cutting Medicare for the elderly ... to give tax breaks to billionaires — it's immoral and knifing cancer patients in the back,” she said. “This is not pro-life, this is an ethical issue, a personal ethical issue for me … what is going on is just beyond belief … they are going to be responsible for people dying.”
Moran said the bill will create a simpler and fairer tax code and it will protect taxpayers.
“This plan will incentivize companies to stay in America and will encourage local businesses to grow and create good-paying jobs, better jobs and more secure jobs,” he said. “Further, our tax code should work for Kansas families, not against them.
“The expansion of the Child Tax Credit, the nearly-doubled standard deduction and the creation of the employer credit for paid family and medical leave will increase personal income, reduce the cost of living and provide flexibility to save for the future.”
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.