Monday, November 27, Indivisible Baltimore hosted a #TrumpTaxScam Town Hall featuring all three Representatives for Baltimore: Congressmen Elijah Cummings (MD-7), Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-2), and John Sarbanes (MD-3). This sold-out event was part of a Indivisible-led nationwide effort to highlight how much the Republican tax plan hurts the middle class and benefits the rich.
Mayor Catherine Pugh opened the event by address the devestating impact the Trump Tax plan will have on Baltimore City. In opening statements, Ruppersberger decried the lack of bipartisanship in Congress and the lack of any interest among Republicans to work with Democrats to address the nation’s problems, Cummings urged voters to help Democrats get elected in 2018 as the only way out of this situation, and Sarbanes expressed hope that the Trump Tax bill could be defeated like the ACA repeal.
“The fact that we were able to stop ACA repeal when Republicans had control of the entire federal government shows what the people can accomplish” – John Sarbanes
Audience questions focused on a number of issues. A graduate student testified that a provision in the new tax bill will hurt those who pay student loans or receive stipends for their tuition. A teacher expressed outrage over the $250 limit in deductions for teachers out-of-pocket expenses on school supplies. Baltimore Housing Roundtable, a coalition of housing advocacy groups, was concerned with out cuts in this bill will affect housing instability.
“We pay for what we value and Republicans just don’t value what we do” – Elijah Cummings
Health care and the ACA were issues of focus as well. A small business owner that relies on the insurance exchange was worried that a provision repealing the individual mandate would destabilize the insurance markets and wondered what Congress can do to stabilize them. Another audience member, also a small business owner and a mother of five, spoke of how her current premiums were thousands of dollars a month, much more than she could afford, and wanted to know what Congress would do for people like her.
“They couldn’t repeal ACA directly so now they’re trying to do it through their tax bill. Repealing the mandate will increase premiums” – John Sarbanes
For their part, the congressmen pledged to do everything they could to fight the tax bill but acknowledged that it was largely out of their hands. Only nationwide resistance, such as was successful against the ACA would have a chance to defeat the bill.
“We need to see who helped us last time with the ACA and go back to them, and say the job is not finished. We need our friends and relatives on other states to help us out.” – Elijah Cummings
We’d like to thank the Congressmen for taking time to participate in the event. For more information, please follow coverage of the event by the Baltimore Sun.