Local group criticizes GOP tax plan

WARREN — An anti-tax reform group met Wednesday to talk about the many different ways the reform effort will be harsh on ­­­­small businesses, families and people needing medical assistance.

“The tax reform bill, as currently proposed, would hurt small businesses, push people to give up health insurance because they will no longer be eligible for federal government-approved assistance under the Affordable Care Act and it will encourage some businesses to send their work overseas,” Marcia Dinkins, co-founder and director of Valley Voices United for Change said.

The group is concerned the bill will use profits from the repeal of the Affordable Care Act to pay for permanent tax cuts for large corporations. The Congressional Budget Office predicts the bill would result in 13 million more uninsured people and premium increases of up to 10 percent.

The anti-tax reform news conference was held in front of Sew Cute, 158 High St. Members of Valley Voices United for Change said they want to send a message to Ohio Senators Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, that change in the tax laws affects 97 percent of Ohioans.

Valley Voices United for Change is a non-profit group formed in January in response to the effort to repeal and replace the ACA, also known as Obamacare, by Republican members of the U.S. House of Representative and the U.S. Senate.

Its goal was to defend the ACA by highlighting the positives it has done and will continue to do. The non-profit group has stayed together to build grassroots resistance to policies its members consider harmful to citizens.

Orneil C. Heller, pastor of First Baptist Church in Braceville, said the tax effort will cause some Americans to pay more, not less, in taxes.

“This holiday, Ohio families have to fear losing their health insurance and paying higher taxes, so CEOs and hedge fund managers can pay less in taxes,” Heller said.

“We call on Senators Portman and Brown to reject this sickness.”

Marilyn Bafunno, a Cortland-area grandmother whose grandson has a rare degnerative disease, is concerned if the tax reform law is passed it will affect her grandson’s ability to continue getting treatment.

“Sen. Portman and Republicans in the Senate need to know that paying for tax breaks for millionaires with cuts to Medicaid and cutting tax credits for research into cures for diseases deemed ‘rare’ will have life-threatening effects, including hurting my grandson,” Bafunno said.

Randy Law, former head of the Trumbull County Republican Party, said he fully supports the reform being led by President Donald Trump.

“In my opinion, the tax reform effort does not go far enough,” Law said.

“Anytime we can lower taxes and allow Americans to spend their money how they want to spend it is a good thing.”

Law hopes that Republicans in the Senate do not allow groups against particular portions of the tax reform package to weaken it.

“This is why we worked to elect President Trump,” Law said.

rsmith@tribtoday.com

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