Jeanne May, an activist from Colorado Fair Share shared her thoughts on the fiscal cliff and the need for middle class tax cuts in Sunday’s Denver Post.
Here it is:
Middle class taxpayers need a break now
When middle-class people like me voted on Election Day, there was one thing most of us agreed on: It’s time to make the rich pay their fair share of taxes again. Even some people who didn’t vote for President Obama agreed that it’s not right to force the middle class to cover the fallout from an economic crisis that we didn’t cause.
While Republican Congressmen Mike Coffman and Scott Tipton joined their Democratic colleagues in the Colorado delegation urging congressional leadership to work on a “comprehensive, balanced deficit-reduction package” to avoid the fiscal cliff, their tax-policy positions are not clear.
If both congressmen truly respect their duty to represent the interests of their constituents, I urge them to heed the Election Day message: Vote not only to extend the tax cuts for middle-class people immediately but also to increase the taxes for the richest 2 percent in these final weeks of 2012.
Reps. Coffman and Tipton may not realize it, but going into this holiday season, millions of us are still reeling financially — from lost homes, lost jobs or a seriously impaired sense of economic security.
As a real estate agent, I have had a unique view of the recent recession sparked by the housing bubble. My clients and I are just now starting to feel like we’ve hit bottom and, slowly, are on the way up financially. And it’s those of us on Main Street, not Wall Street, who want political leaders to avoid decisions that will jeopardize our country’s fragile economic recovery.
Colorado would lose out if the middle-class tax cuts come to an end. Those who make less than $250,000 would have to pay an additional $2,000 more a year in taxes. That’s $2,000 less a year in most folks’ pockets to spend on food, services and goods. That’s a real bite into my budget. So we will spend even less and the recession will drag on.
Middle-class people like me will also lose out if Congress doesn’t end the tax cuts for the wealthiest top 2 percent. If we don’t make the richest Americans pay their fair share and do their part to reduce the deficit, we could end up with a budget deal that cuts Medicare, Medicaid, child care and other vital services. The loss of these services will lead to a loss of jobs right here in Colorado.
Education is another area subject to cuts, and that is simply unacceptable. Education has been and still is the standard that set America above the rest. We have a history of training our youth with state-of-the-art technology and tools, but sadly, this standard is fading.
As a tutor in the Cherry Creek School District, I see firsthand that our schools are already doing more with less, and there is nothing left to cut out. Building a healthy middle class depends on the strength of public education.
We cannot slash our way to prosperity by continuing to break the backs of the middle class like this. We can thrive again by investing in our country, the economy and in each other.
The president said he wasn’t going to ask students and seniors and middle-class families to pay down the entire deficit while people who make more than $250,000 aren’t asked to pay even their fair share in taxes.
Congressmen Coffman and Tipton should follow that sensible lead. They should not hold out for tax cuts for the richest among us.
Take a vote now that tells middle-class people like me that we can put our minds at ease going into the holidays. Extend those tax breaks for the middle class now, and require the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share, too.
Jeanne May is an Aurora real estate agent, a volunteer tutor for Aurora Public Schools, and an activist with Colorado Fair Share.