Middle Class

Issues

Middle Class

The GOP tax cut and real effects

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed at the end of 2017, cut the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, while lowering the marginal tax rates most individuals pay.

It changed the way taxpayers itemize deductions, including the controversial new cap of $10,000 on the deductibility of state and local taxes. The new law punishes the people of Illinois and other states that have income taxes and property tax funded education systems. The overall cost will be about $1.5 to $2.0 trillion in foregone federal revenue through 2025, with annual deficits already soaring toward $1+ trillion.

Just less than two-thirds of Americans got a tax cut in 2018, but most of the gains went to the highest earners. That’s partly because they pay the most in taxes. Many economists have asked say the law could have kept the top brackets intact instead of lowering them, while directing larger tax cuts toward the middle and working class.

But it did not, with the bill’s backers arguing the twice-tried “trickle-down” theory. Several reports find no such stimulus in 2018.

The law passed with only GOP votes and employed the reconciliation pathway to skirt the sixty votes needed in the Senate to pass annual budgets.

 

Cost of education and funding public schools

There are several funding mechanisms available to law makers at the state level, the local and district levels. Illinois relies heavily on local property taxes for education funding. That model has its pros and cons. We see the benefits of local control, community vesting, property value stabilization and more. The cons are seen in economic disparity, income and property value, lower tax base. Additionally, Communities face aging buildings and grounds. Teacher pay and retirement funding challenges face all school boards state-wide.

The world of work requires a level of skill and knowledge that has its roots in education. Debates that only center on curriculum and are often PC driven can drive away industries that are telling educators what skill sets are needed in a brave new future. Established alliances between schools and employers are weakening and many school board seats go unfilled.

Well paid teachers historically perform better. Smaller classes and the latest in STEM training methods deliver. Apprentice and hands-on training centers can meet the demand for skilled workforces. Trade unions pay an important role.

There are solutions and ideas that work. Grant Township Democrats encourage and will help citizens become candidates for community school boards, serve on advisory panels and more.

 

$15 minimum wage & job training

Studies of municipalities and now a handful of states show early indication of positive impacts. The simple math shows that a family of four with two full time workers @ $10/hr earns $41,000 Take home $36,000. At $15/hr that family earns $61,000 taking home about $53,000.

Trickle around economics where a family can get a new car at local dealer, update a bathroom, fix the roof, save for college.

Job training programs start in K-8 with more interaction between skill teachers and skill users, supporting good pay for teachers pay-off. And smaller classes and the latest in STEM training methods deliver more able high school grads.

Industry apprentice and hands-on training centers some allied with education institutions can help meet the demand for skilled workforces. Trade unions pay an important role.

 

Infrastructure

Across the nation we struggle with infrastructure funding, in general we know locally what is needed. In the Fox Lake and Chain of Lakes we know all-too-well the consequences of inaction as floods continue. Water and waste systems are stressed. Traffic congestion grows as roads crumble. Government worker pensions under attack. Boating and vacation revenue at risk.

It is important to also know that infrastructure can be ‘hard’ or ‘soft.’ Hard infrastructure refers to physical projects and includes roads, bridges, railways, etc. Soft refers to institutions that maintain the economic, health, social, and cultural standards of a community. This includes educational programs, statistics, parks and recreational facilities, law enforcement agencies, and emergency services.