TARA and the Texas AFT Retiree Committee continued their partnership to work for expanding pensions and health care benefits for all education retirees. Members of both groups joined together at a meeting held at the Texas AFL-CIO for the making of a video to share retiree stories and plan actions for the March To The Capitol Lobby Day on Monday March 11. Texas AFT Retiree Chairwoman Cheryl Anderson, who is also Houston TARA President, presided at the meeting as  Secretary and TARA member Rita Runnels took minutes. Also attending were TARA President Tony Padilla, Austin Chapter President Jack McCabe, Field Organizer Judy Bryant, TARA Executive Board Member Elaine Jones and a number of TARA/Texas AFT Retiree Committee members.  Texas AFT Legislative Agent and Retiree Specialist Ted Raab is also a TARA member.

Cheryl Anderson and Rita Runnels

Jack McCabe and Tony Padilla

Tax Returns Confirm 2017 Tax Cuts Were a Tax Scam

With the tax season beginning, Americans are filing their first returns since the 2017 tax law changes went into effect. And many are reporting being shocked when they no longer receive a refund or even owe taxes.

According to the IRS, tax refunds are down 8%, or $170 per filer, compared to last year. The number of people receiving a refund at all decreased by almost 25%, and a similar number owe money after never owing in the past.

Overall, support for this tax law is dropping and a majority of Americans, believing that corporations aren’t paying their fair share, support increased taxes on the wealthy.

The effects of the bill will mount in the coming years. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center says that by 2027, taxes will be higher for 53 percent of taxpayers, while the large tax breaks will go to the wealthiest five percent of taxpayers.

Kathleen Trisdale, a disabled veteran from California who was profiled in USA Today, owes more than $2,000 in income taxes for 2018. She says she relies on her military pension and Social Security for income and that she expected to owe something this year, but not more than $1,000. “I’m a low-income person so I didn’t think I would be affected this much.”

House Ways and Means Hearing Looks for Ways to Improve Retirement Security

On February 6, the House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Rep. Richard Neal (MA),held a hearing on Improving Retirement Security for America’s Workers. The multiemployer pension crisis, the lack of retirement savings and the need to expand Social Security, as well as the need to lower prescription drug prices, were all discussed. The Alliance submitted a statement for the record for the hearing with its views on these issues.

“In light of the fact that 77% of Americans fall short of the savings target for their age, in large part because workers’ wages have been stagnant for 20 years while the cost of living has increased, Congress must take bold action to improve retirement security for all,” said Joseph Peters, Jr., Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “We are committed to helping the new Congress find ways to address these critical issues for current and future retirees.”

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