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RELEASE: Senate Democrats Hold Hearing on Costs of Republican Tax Giveaway to American Families

Senators heard testimony on similarities between the failed 2012 Kansas tax breaks and the current Republican tax plan

WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, and Ron Wyden (D-OR), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, today held a hearing entitled “Who Pays for the GOP’s Trillion Dollar Tax Cut? How Families, Seniors, and the Middle Class are Hit Hardest.”  The Senators heard testimony on similarities between the failed 2012 Kansas tax breaks and the current Republican plan.  They also heard testimony to counter the false argument that economic growth will make up for lost revenue in the Republican tax plan as well as ways in which the Republican tax giveaway will hurt seniors, working families, and homeowners.     

“We need tax reform that helps create jobs and puts more money in your pocket,” said Senator Stabenow.  “Instead, this Republican tax give-away hurts families, seniors, and the middle class, all to give another tax break to the top one percent.  Today, we heard from experts including Kansans who lived through and fought back against a hurtful tax experiment that is very similar to today’s Republican tax plan.  I want to thank all of our witnesses for sharing their testimony and helping bring attention to the ways in which this Republican plan fails families.”


U.S. Senators XX attended the hearing.  Video of the hearing may be found here. 

The following witnesses participated in the DPCC hearing:

  • Rep. Jim Ward, Kansas State House Minority Leader– Wichita, Kansas: Rep. Jim Ward is the Democratic Minority Leader in the Kansas State House of Representatives. He helped lead the bipartisan effort to overturn Kansas’s tax breaks enacted by Governor Sam Brownback. He discussed similarities between the 2012 Kansas tax breaks and the tax breaks proposed by Republicans, their impact on state services, and the public outcry that led to the rolling back of many of the tax breaks in 2016. TESTIMONY
  • Sarah LaFrenz, Kansas State Employee and PTO Parent –Topeka, Kansas: Sarah LaFrenz is a public employee at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and mother of three elementary school children in Topeka. She is a biologist who works on water quality regulations related to animal feeding operations in Kansas. She spoke to the impact of the Brownback tax cuts on public services for Kansas families, such as the handling of potentially radioactive materials.  She also discussed the impact on schools from years of lost revenue. TESTIMONY
  • Max Richtman, President and CEO, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM): Max Richtman is a former staff director of the Senate Special Committee on Aging and sixteen-year veteran of Capitol Hill. In his testimony, he will explain how seniors bear the costs of tax breaks in the Republican plan and how the Republican budget cuts $500 billion from Medicare and $1 trillion from Medicaid. TESTIMONY
  • Bruce Bartlett, Former Republican Treasury Official and Tax Expert – Great Falls, Virginia: Bruce Bartlett was a domestic policy adviser to President Ronald Reagan and Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy under George H.W. Bush. He was an architect of the Reagan tax reforms who now rejects the theory behind the policies he created.  In the hearing, Bartlett worked to counter the misleading argument that economic growth will make up for lost revenue in the Republican tax plan.  TESTIMONY
  • Luz Arevalo, attorney at a low-income tax preparation clinic – Boston, Massachusetts: Luz Arevalo is a Senior Attorney at the Low Income Tax Clinic Project of Greater Boston Legal Services, a 110-year-old organization that provides free legal services to working families in Massachusetts.Arevalo explained how working families would be hurt by proposed changes to the Earned Income Tax Credit, the loss of the personal exemption, and other potential reforms. TESTIMONY
  • Gene Sperling, Former National Economic Council Director – Ann Arbor, Michigan: Gene Sperling served in both the Clinton and Obama administrations as the Director of the National Economic Council. Sperling oversaw the White House response to the Detroit bankruptcy under President Obama and led the efforts on several of Clinton’s signature tax initiatives.  Sperling discussed how the Republican tax cut plan will cost working families and the middle class through the loss of the State and Local Tax Deduction (SALT), potential cuts to retirement savings plans like 401(k)s, and other reforms. TESTIMONY