Congressional Candidate Gwen Combs Derides Tax Proposals

LITTLE ROCK – Two weeks ago, the House of Representatives passed a violently partisan version of tax reform. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act does many things. It provides incredible tax breaks to the donor class. It removes the ability to deduct medical expenses. It repeals the estate tax. It repeals the deduction for student loans. Deductions for tax preparation expenses will no longer exist. It raises taxes for those making less than $50,000 a year.

“I know Arkansas well, and I know many more families who make less than $50,000 a year than I do those who would benefit from the repeal of the estate tax,” said Gwen Combs, a public school teacher who is challenging Representative French Hill for his 2nd Congressional District seat.

Combs also is critical of another element of the House version. “I, along with many teachers I know, purchase classroom supplies for my students with my own income,” she said. “But under the new reforms, such purchases will no longer be tax-deductible.

“Public schools are underfunded, and I have zero discretionary budget as a teacher,” Combs said. “When that means I need to go shopping to provide the best possible education for my students, I should be able to deduct what I spend.”

Thus far, the Senate’s tax proposal would increase the teacher deduction from $250 to $500. Regardless, Combs is equally wary of both the Senate and House approach to tax reform.

Neither version, she said, will result in a good outcomes for the majority of the 2nd Congressional District’s constituents.

“As I listen to Arkansans, it’s crystal clear that they are aware of and opposed to the tax bill. Working moms tell me their deduction for student-loan interest is the only thing that helps them break even at tax time. Struggling grad students are paralyzed by the fear of being taxed on tuition waivers – money they never actually see. Seniors and people with disabilities are terrified at the thought of losing deductions for their overwhelming medical expenses. Small-business owners worry that the elimination of deductions will cost them their livelihood and hurt their employees.

“Arkansans are calling Washington to let their Members of Congress know their concerns. They’re even traveling to D.C. in hopes they will be heard. Representative Hill has already ignored the concert of his constituents in the 2nd District. Senators Boozman and Cotton must listen to Arkansans and vote against this bill.

“As a Congresswoman, I would happily work with Republicans and Democrats to craft real tax relief for families who need it, not just individuals who pay for campaigns. My sympathies lie with the teachers, workers, and struggling families. If tax relief is a priority, the focus should be on those groups.”

Gwen Combs, a resident of Little Rock, is challenging French Hill for his seat in the 2nd Congressional District. She is a U.S. Air Force veteran who has spent 11 years teaching in public-school classrooms. She also was the lead organizer of the Women’s March for Arkansas.

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