A press release from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee calls out Sen. Cory Gardner along with several other 2020 GOP vulnerables for a provision in the 2017 Trump tax cut legislation that’s being panned on both sides of the aisle for its “unintended” effects on military survivors:
The reckless Republican tax law passed in 2017 that gave away the vast majority of its benefits to the rich and big corporations and even sparked a lawsuit that could end protections for people with pre-existing conditions is having yet another disastrous effect: unfairly hiking taxes on Gold Star families…
While some Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have been working on a fix, some of the most vulnerable GOP senators who voted proudly for the tax bill that caused this mess aren’t owning up to their mistake. Senators Gardner, Collins, McSally, Tillis, Perdue, and Ernst have been sitting on the sidelines, appearing to decline to co-sponsor the legislation while their Senate colleagues work across party lines to undo this cruel penalty hurting Gold Star families.
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Stewart Boss issued the following statement:
“The most vulnerable Republican senators voted for a reckless tax bill that actually hiked taxes on Gold Star families, and now they’re not even working to fix this mess and support a bipartisan solution to the problem they created. Senators Gardner, Collins, McSally, Tillis, Perdue, and Ernst owe their states an explanation for why they voted in favor of a Gold Star family tax hike and why they’re not working to fix this issue.”
It’s a sticky subject of course, admitting that the so-called “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” was a flawed measure that in addition to irresponsibly slashing revenues in an era of trillion-dollar deficits is hurting politically most problematic segments of the tax base with its various inadequate “pay-fors.” As The Hill reported last week:
Republicans’ 2017 tax-cut law made a change to how children’s unearned income is taxed under the tax. Previously, the income was taxed at the rate of the children’s parents, but under the GOP tax law, the income is taxed at the same rate as trusts and estates.
The change unexpectedly resulted in the children of fallen troops paying more taxes on their survivor benefits. Task & Purpose, a news outlet focused on military and veterans affairs, reported last month that it is common for spouses of fallen troops to put Department of Defense survivor benefits in the names of their children in order to ensure that the families can receive survivor benefits from both the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Under the new legislation, military survivor benefits would be treated as earned income, rather than as unearned income, so that they are not subject to the tax and instead are taxed at lower rates.
In the Senate, the Gold Star Family Tax Relief Act is sponsored by Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, but the legislation also has 28 other Senate cosponsors from both parties. Which leads to the obvious question–why isn’t Cory Gardner’s name on the bill too? Perhaps he’ll remedy this oversight in the coming days, but unless he does we have to assume that Gardner just doesn’t want to talk about the consequences, both intended and not, of the tax cut legislation he voted for. After all, once we fix this “glitch” hitting Gold Star families in the pocketbook, it might be a good time to discuss that massive federal deficit the Trump tax cuts have only worsened. As the only major policy achievement Gardner can hang his hat on, it’s not working out very well.
Its almost as if Cory Gardner (wait for it) didn’t read the bill! Either that or he really thinks survivor benefits should be “unearned income?” Either way, it’s a nasty political eyesore that refusing to own only makes worse.