Note:  Indivisible NJ4 shirts are here! Please show your support and help in our quest to unseat Smith!

Update: Congressman Smith released a statement that he intends to vote “no” on the tax bill, H.R.1:

A vote is expected on the House bill today. The Senate is expected to start voting on their version of the bill on Monday Nov. 27.  If the Senate manages to get its Tax Scam bill through, the House will vote again, almost immediately, this time on the Senate version. The House will almost surely vote on whatever the Senate passes. That’s why we have to make sure that we stop the Senate from passing its TrumpCare/Tax Scam bill.

Let’s keep up our calls to ensure Congressman Smith remains a firm NO vote to this bill which benefits the ultra-wealthy and corporations at the expense of the middle-class and poorer Americans. The bill framework includes the following points:

-The plan will add $1.5 trillion to the American debt. No loopholes are eliminated but there are plenty of tax cuts.
-The wealthy will pay less tax thus widening the gap between rich and poor.
-Corporations will yield tremendous reduction in the taxes with little motivation to bring back either jobs or profits to the US.

Listed below are talking points for some of the main provisions of the bill. When calling Congressman Smith, we recommend emphasizing Points 1 and 2, and rotating in a third point of your choice.

If you are interested in learning more about the tax bill, we urge you to research the topic or call your local library. Sources are listed below, and please see this member created doc for important details about the bill with many additional sources:

1) Let’s start calling Congressman Smith’s office in D.C. at 202-225-3765 around 10:00AM

Caller:  I am a constituent of Rep. Smith’s; may I please speak with the staffer who handles budgetary concerns?

I am calling with my strong opposition to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, HR 1. It is clear this bill is designed to benefit the ultra-wealthy and corporations while providing minimal benefits to most middle-class households. I appreciate that Rep. Smith has publicly stated he will vote “no” on HR 1, and I urge him to remain firm in voting “no” against any modifications made to the bill if it continues to provide massive tax cuts for the 1%.
< Insert selected points below >
I urge Rep. Smith to be a vocal leader amongst his colleagues in the fight against passage of this bill. Thank you.

Point 1:  This bill penalizes those states such as New Jersey by *removal of the State and Local Tax deduction* (SALT). New Jersey already sends more money to the federal coffers than receives back.

Point 2:  This bill *limits the property tax deduction to $10,000 in property tax*. NJ property owners already pay a high rate of tax on their property with this money funding education, law enforcement, and other services. The state’s real estate lobby predicts a 10% drop in home values and decreased home sales.  This aspect of the bill unfairly targets those states funding services that the Trump administration won’t fund, to the detriment of our communities.

Point 3:  This bill *increases the Federal deficit by $1.5 trillion* over the course of 10 years. Based on Senate rules, the process of reconciliation can be used to pass this bill with a simple 51 vote majority. While the deficit grows, the majority of the tax cuts benefit the wealthy, in particular the top 1% (such as Trump himself). This bill further widens the gap between the ultra-rich and the rest of us.  Despite assurance future growth will cover the deficit, economists state the projected growth will be only 2%.

Point 4:  This bill *lowers the minimum corporate tax rate from 35 to 20%* without acknowledging current loopholes in the tax code allowing corporations to pay as little as 15%. Further provisions in this new tax bill allow corporations to pay even lower taxes with no guarantee jobs will be created or foreign profits will return.

Point 5:  This bill allows for certain business that are structured a certain way to *”pass-through”* their tax burden to a lower individual rate of 25%. This aspect of the bill contributes to the high Federal deficit and only benefits the top 1% of earners such as Trump and will not benefit small “mom & pop” businesses.

Additional considerations:
1)Supply side economics experiment in Kansas – none of this worked.
2)Connection to passed budget and cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.
3)This bill includes language stating that churches should not lose their tax-exempt status based on statements about political candidates made during the course of religious services. This would allow churches to endorse political candidates, effectively rolling back the Johnson Amendment.
4)This bill calls for ending some “special interest deductions” — including those for medical expenses, and student loan interest.
5)The mortgage interest deduction would be limited to up to $500,000 of *new* mortgages (currently it is $1 million). Also, mortgages on second homes would no longer be deductible.
6)This bill would increase the tax rate by 2% for poor Americans who make less than $18,600 per year.

Senate Update: On Tues., Senate Republican leaders proposed including a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate in their tax bill, which according to the CBO would result in 13 million fewer people having health insurance, and would drive up insurance premiums for many Americans by roughly 10 percent.

2) Let’s start calling our Senators (Booker D.C. 202-224-3224, Newark 973-639-8700; Menendez D.C. 202-224-4744, Newark 973-645-3030) around 10:00AM

Caller: Hello, I am a constituent of the Senator’s; may I speak with the staffer who handles budgetary concerns?

I am calling with my strong opposition to the Republican tax bill. It is clear this bill is designed to benefit the ultra-wealthy and corporations while providing minimal benefits to most middle-class households. I appreciate that the Senator has publicly stated his opposition, and I ask for his continued support in using his voice to educate and engage the public on the serious implications for middle-class and poorer Americans if this bill is passed. I also want the Senator to be a strong leader in publicly rejecting any amendments to the tax bill to end enforcement of the ACA’s individual insurance mandate. Thank you.

If you have a personal story to relate to this issue, and are comfortable sharing it, please do – our elected officials want to hear how their policies affect our lives!

Sources for more information:

Caller best practices:
Rep. Chris Smith –
Senator Cory Booker – (scroll to bottom)
Senator Bob Menendez –
State of NJ reps –
NJ Governor’s Office – 609-292-6000
Study up on the issues:
“Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” – 1st Amendment to the US Constitution