New mother in distress when she learns how badly the GOP tax plan hurt her family: ‘I called my husband crying’
A few weeks ago, MSNBC’s Joy Reid asserted that taxes could prove to be a major issue for Democrats to campaign on when more and more middle class Americans realize how much the Republican tax overhaul raised their taxes. The GOP-sponsored Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 lowered the United States’ corporate tax rate from 36% to 21%, but many deductions that middle class Americans counted on were reduced or eliminated. And NBC News’ Jake Ward spoke to one of the middle class taxpayers who got a nasty surprise recently when her family filed its 2018 tax return.
Victoria Pearl-Wright, a Houston, Texas resident and new mother who owns a small business, told NBC News that although she was expecting a refund of about $5000, she found out she owes money this time.
“Typically, I enjoy tax season because it’s easy for me to do, and we typically get a refund,” Pearl-Wright told Ward. “So, I get it done as soon as possible.”
Pearl-Wright explained that after discovering that—unlike in 2018—she owes money, she “called my husband immediately, crying. I was in a large amount of stress at that point. It’s almost traumatizing.”
Pearl-Wright, whose family makes less than $50,000 per year, said she was counting on a refund to cover the cost of her unpaid maternity leave. But the Houston resident learned that she no longer qualifies for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and has lost many of the personal deductions she was able to claim in the past.
Ward reported that according to NerdWallet, 59% of the U.S. residents who have filed their 2018 tax returns so far have reported smaller refunds than they received a year ago for their 2017 returns. Mark Mazur, an accountant interviewed for Ward’s report, noted that 6% of Americans have received a tax hike—and 6% is “almost 10 million people.”
Ward noted that under the new tax code, state and local taxes (known as “SALT” among accountants and tax preparers) are now capped at $10,000 per household.
Having recently given birth, Pearl-Wright was hoping to take more time off from work. But thanks to Republicans and the loss of a tax refund, she will have to return to work sooner than expected.
In late 2017, votes on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act came down largely among party lines, and many Democrats in the Senate—from Cory Booker to Bernie Sanders to Elizabeth Warren—were vehemently opposed to it.