Rep. Erik Paulsen’s Latest Survey on “Tax Reform”

We know many of you aren’t on Rep Paulsen’s list.  And, many more have been bumped from the list. So, here’s a link tothe latest survey for you to complete.  Granted, there isn’t a plan in place, and not much information has been made available (kind of like with the health care bill he voted for).

It does sign you up for his emails.

https://paulsen.congressnewsletter.net/mail/util.cfm?gpiv=2100144678.80365.1&gen=1

Where’s Erik Paulsen?

Our Representative in Congress hasn’t held a public town hall since September 6, 2011. There’ve been last minute meetings announced on social media shortly before they happen, tele-town halls where questions can be vetted before being forwarded, appearances at local businesses and school, robocalls that come to you saying he’s sorry you weren’t there to take his invitation to the tele-townhalls — but no traditional town hall.

It’s been 2,234 days since Rep. Paulsen’s last public town hall.

Erik Paulsen is the poster child for a failed Congress

The free press is the gatekeeper to our democracy, contrary to what the current rants emanating from D.C. would like you to believe. The beauty of City Pages is that you have the courage, confidence, and conscience to speak the truth of power and to challenge the status quo. Cory Zurowski’s excellent investigative journalism has made a public record of the reality of Erik Paulsen.

No other news organization has taken interest in this congressman who has been serving out-of-state moneyed, special interest groups and extreme ideologues, as opposed to his constituents. No other news organization has taken the time to thoroughly investigate Paulsen and present these truths. In fact, the Star Tribune continually endorses Paulsen to the detriment of my district, state and nation. Read More

The Cowardly Lion: Minnesota needs a hero. It has Erik Paulsen instead.

The following article by Cory Zurowski was posed on the CityPages website October 11, 2017:

Hilary and Lemar Gilreath’s 3-year-old son started life at a deficit, born six weeks early and weighing less than three pounds.

Erik Paulsen has become the very politician he used to claim to hate. Credit:
Jared Yamahata

Over the ensuing 30 months, Logan would be diagnosed with autism, spina bifida, and sensory processing disorder. The onslaught of illnesses posed problems with walking, the ability to communicate, and a brain that struggled to receive information.

Hilary is a patient rep for Allina Health. Lemar works in tech support for a trucking company. The Edina couple receives health insurance through work, which covers 80 percent of Logan’s medical costs. But the tab for caring for a special needs child doesn’t come cheap. One MRI can cost $31,000. Logan’s autism day school runs $800 per week. Twice-weekly therapy sessions ring in at $200 a pop.

The Gilbreaths quickly realized they were screwed. A year’s coverage for therapy visits alone maxed out after just two months. Read More

Republican tax plan looks like boon to the wealthy, not so much for you

The following article by Cory Zurowski was posted on the CityPages website September 29, 2017:

Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Eden Prairie) wasted no time. Less than 24 hours after GOP leaders announced a new tax cut plan that would largely benefit businesses and wealthy Americans, Paulsen came out with a big public thumbs up.

Credit:  Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune

The conservative from Eden Prairie called it long overdue “reform” that’s sure to restore “the hope of prosperity for American workers.”

Rep. Jason Lewis (R-Woodbury) went into hyperbole mode: “This plan is about defending the American Dream — the right to fly as high as your wings will take you.”

Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Delano) also came out in support of the blueprint that’s big on cuts, scarce on details. It’s estimated to amount to a $5.8 trillion tax break while doing away with $3.6 trillion in deductions. That comes out to a $2.2 trillion net cut.

Whether America can afford it or not is another conversation.

Here’s what’s known: The corporate tax rate would drop from 35 percent to 20 percent, which in theory greases the wheels for multinational companies to bring money back into the U.S. In the past few years, America’s largest companies have been hoarding cash overseas to skirt their obligations to Uncle Sam.

It would also kill the estate tax, which currently charges as much as 40 percent when a dead person’s assets are transferred to their heirs. Yet this too would be a bonanza for the rich, since it only applies to estates of $5.5 million and greater.

The GOP bill provides another bonus to the financier caste, proposing to lower rates on investment income, which are presently taxed between 15 percent and 23 percent.

What would it mean to working Minnesotans earning $25,000 per year? Or $65,000? Not much.

It looks like a wash now, according to Mark Haveman of the Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence, a nonprofit that focuses on fiscal policy. But he’s quick to qualify that: “There’s a lot of details missing. There’s blanks to be filled in here.”

It promises to bump the child tax credit, which stands at $1,000. But doesn’t say how much. The three new tax brackets — 12, 25, and 35 percent — don’t show which income groups will be subject to the new rates.

Haveman points to the standard deduction, which would double to $12,000 for those filing singly and $24,000 for those filing jointly. At the same time, personal exemptions would be eliminated.

“That sure would take a lot of the benefit away from the doubling of the deduction,” says Haveman. “These benefits of the standard deduction are partially, potentially, and largely — and maybe in some circumstances — could be completely offset depending on the household size.”

In other words, some families might be paying more.

It promises to bump the child tax credit, which stands at $1,000. But doesn’t say how much. The three new tax brackets — 12, 25, and 35 percent — don’t show which income groups will be subject to the new rates.

Haveman points to the standard deduction, which would double to $12,000 for those filing singly and $24,000 for those filing jointly. At the same time, personal exemptions would be eliminated.

“That sure would take a lot of the benefit away from the doubling of the deduction,” says Haveman. “These benefits of the standard deduction are partially, potentially, and largely — and maybe in some circumstances — could be completely offset depending on the household size.”

In other words, some families might be paying more.

“I mean, really,” says Haveman with a laugh. “It’s really difficult right now to access what will happen, and how burdens will shift, and who wins and who loses because there’s so many important details yet to be determined.”

Like how to create massive cuts without adding trillions of dollars to the national debt.

For now, it looks suspiciously like a trickle-down plan the GOP has peddled since the days of Reagan. THey’ve led to an economy that harkens back to the 1920s, with wealth congregated in the hands of a few and stagnant wages for the rest.

Hamline University profession Joe Peschek looks to history for what lays ahead. President Ronald Reagan’s 1981 plan featured billions in lower taxes for corporations and slashed estate taxes. It reduced income tax rates for every bracket.

President George W. Bush’s tax plans in the early 2000s were essentially crafted in the same trickle-down mold, according to Peschek, who argues the GOP’s sales pitch in 2017 isn’t much different.

“If we look back through those two periods,” he says, “wages were pretty flat, there was sluggish growth, and economic inequality grew. It’s hard to argue these kind of tax cuts trickle down very much.”

Rep. Betty McCollum (DFL-St. Paul) offered the best summation of the Democratic view, calling it “a multi-trillion dollar giveaway to billionaires and big corporations” that leaves “working families footing the bill.”

View the post here.

Need to quit playing games

The Graham-Cassidy bill being considered on the Senate floor is a destructive and poorly thought out bill that, like its predecessors, looks to strip health care from millions.

It’s unethical and immoral. What’s worse, it is again being ram-rodded to a quick vote to save face with Republican constituents and gain a political “win.” The health of millions seems to be less important and only exist to these people as a bulletpoint from their corporate backers.

A working health care solution is a human issue that should not be defined by or designed for political gain. Political positioning should not determine accessibility and cost. Read More

Rep. Paulsen’s DACA Survey

Rep. Paulsen sent an email survey this afternoon asking those constituents who’ve been able to subscribe to his email newsletter to answer a poll on how he should handle the DACA/Dreamers situation.  We’ve heard that many people have had problems subscribing to his newsletter.  Just in case, we’re including a link to the poll below.  (You will be joining his newsletter list by completing this.)

Click here to take Rep. Erik Paulsen’s DACA/Dreamers September 19, 2017 Survey

 

To make their tax plan work, Republicans eye a favorite blue-state break

The following article by Michael DeBonis was posted on the Washington Post website September 16, 2017:

President Trump pauses during a meeting with congressional leaders and administration officials on tax reform in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Sept. 5, 2017. From left, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas). (Evan Vucci/AP)

As long as there has been a federal income tax, taxpayers have been able to deduct most of the state and local taxes they pay from earnings subject to Uncle Sam’s grasp. But that deduction — especially popular in states rich in Democratic voters — could disappear as soon as next year if President Trump and congressional Republicans succeed in their promised rewrite of the tax code.

The state and local tax deduction, or SALT, has long been a target for tax-policy wonks who see it as an unwise federal subsidy that is mainly claimed by the wealthy. But politics have always intervened: Thanks to the opposition of lawmakers in high-tax states, the deduction has survived every effort to clear out loopholes, including the last federal tax overhaul of similar ambition in 1986.

Now, Republican leaders have made clear the SALT deduction is on the table, and it has shaken up a number of blue-state GOP legislators who are warning that it could derail the ambitious tax plan Trump is now pushing. Read More

Trump Declines to Release List of His Mar-a-Lago Visitors

The following article by Eric Lipton was posted on the New York Times website September 15, 2017:

President Trump visited his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida for 25 days between his inauguration and the middle of May. Credit: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Friday escalated a battle with government ethics groups by declining to release the identities of individuals visiting with President Trump at his family’s Mar-a-Lago resort during the days he has spent at the private club in Palm Beach, Fla., this year.

The surprising move by the Department of Justice, which had been ordered in July by a federal court to complete its review of Mar-a-Lago visitor records, came after weeks of promotion by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the liberal nonprofit group known as CREW, that it would soon be getting the Mar-a-Lago visitors logs.

Instead, on Friday the Justice Department released a State Department list of just 22 names — all of them members of the delegation of the Japanese prime minister — who visited the club in February for a meeting with President Trump. Read More

What is Paulsen’s definition of a town hall?

Sept. 6 marked six full years since the last town hall held by Congressman Erik Paulsen. He has stated several times that he’s held over 100 town halls, but that’s a distortion of the truth.

Through public statements by the congressman along with a conversation I personally had with his office, it can be determined that he considers the following to be “town halls”: unannounced pop-up appearances in supermarkets, corporate appearances, carefully controlled and unannounced conference calls, scripted videos and even emailed newsletters. Read More