Hundreds gathered in Pershing Square on April 15 for the Tax March, to bring attention to the Republican tax bill that preferences the wealthy over the middle class. Many others received the Tax March’s message through social media, according to organizers.
Speaking to SoCal Daily after the rally, Skye Wagoner, a student at Cal State Long Beach and a speaker at the rally, was emphatic that the tax bill was not good for California, nor the nation. Congress “needs to repeal it before it does any more damage,” she said. Most California Republicans voted for the tax bill, including several in Southern California such as Reps. Steve Knight (Palmdale) and Mimi Walters (Irvine).
In her speech at the rally, Wagoner emphasized the basic unfairness of the tax bill, noting, “the Trump Tax was made for those who can afford to live in the world of Trump and keep it that way.” Her words are backed up by the facts.
According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, the Republican-backed tax plan gives the poorest 20 percent of Americans an average of $60 over the course of the year. The richest 1 percent, meanwhile, will receive a whopping $51,000. In other words, the richest Americans receive $850 for every $1 a poorer American receives.
Californians, meanwhile, will be stuck with higher taxes. An independent economic analysis shows Californians are disproportionately impacted by the tax bill compared to residents of other states. While other states will enjoy some measure of benefit, homeowners in Orange County, for example, can expect up to $4,500 in higher taxes this year.
Wagoner emphasized that the bill will be harmful to public education. “It could cost California $35 billion” in education funding she said, quoting data from the National Education Association (NEA). If state revenue falls, “one of the first things cut is education,” she said.
Wagoner was also concerned about the health care provisions tucked into the tax bill. Those provisions are “very harmful to the health care system, and make it harder for people to maintain health care,” she said.
In California, premiums are set to increase by 30 percent next year. Around the country, some states will see premiums increase by up to 94 percent in the next three years, thanks to the votes of Knight and Walters.
“For people who purchase health insurance off the marketplace, some people won’t be able to afford it” in the future, says Kimberly Adams, a member of the SoCal Health Care Coalition Advisory Council and another speaker at the L.A. Tax March.
Millions of people will be priced out of health insurance, and an estimated 1.6 million Californians will end up losing health insurance.
In her speech, Wagoner had words of warning for members of Congress who refuse to take action on the tax bill. “I am calling on all of our representatives to not only condemn this bill but actually do something about it,” she said. “Actively fight to repeal it. And if you all won’t — we will find someone who will.”
At the end of the day, Wagoner hopes people get out there an vote. Her goal is simple: “Getting people educated and excited to vote. And getting them to the polls.”