Today, the Department of Labor announced that 163,000 jobs were added in July. That's the 29th straight month that private sector jobs have been created--for a total of 4.5 million.
Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
While these are encouraging signs that our economy continues to recover, it's clear there are too many in Hawaii and across the nation still out of work. That's why we need to be doing everything we can to get our economy moving and create jobs.
That starts with making sure our middle class families and small businesses don't see their taxes increase.
This week, the House of Representatives debated what direction our country should take when it comes to taxes and what our priorities should be.
Is our priority to keep giving tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires?
Or should we give 98 percent of taxpayers and 97 percent of small businesses a tax break to help the economy continue to grow?
I believe that we must pass a plan that reflects Hawaii's values. Values like rewarding hard work and helping our families make ends meet. Ensuring that health care is affordable, that folks can buy a home, send their kids to college and save for retirement. Helping our local small businesses succeed. These are the values that drive me and inform my priorities in this debate.
That's why I was proud to support a bill based on the values that will grow a strong economy -- President Obama's middle class tax plan. His plan gives 98 percent of taxpayers and 97 percent of all small businesses a break. It also helps to reduce our deficit by asking the wealthiest two percent to pay their fair share.
This common-sense plan recognizes that a strong middle class is the backbone of a prosperous economy and that we all have to chip in to make that a reality.
Unfortunately, this proposal was voted down.
Instead, the House Majority pushed through their tax plan that puts millionaires before the middle class.
Their plan extends all of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent. But it doesn't extend tax credits that help make college affordable; it reduces tax credits for families with children; and the plan fails to help those that are working hard but not making enough to make ends meet.
In fact, under this plan, 25 million families--including military families--would see their taxes go up.
The Republicans' tax plan is based on the budget they passed earlier this year that would give big corporations and the super rich a knock-out win and put middle class families on the ropes.
I agree that we need tax reform. But the type of reform we need will set our tax policies for years to come and have a huge impact on our economy--and our national debt. Therefore, we need to have a real debate with ideas from both sides of the aisle.
Smart tax reform will support middle class families, a competitive American economy, and a strong national defense. It will also get our deficit under control. Those are my values and that's what I'm fighting for.
I will give the current House Majority points for consistency. They've been very clear that their priorities are more tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent, more giveaways for big corporations, and eliminating the tax cuts that middle class families rely on.
Those aren't the priorities that I've heard from folks I've been meeting and talking with all over Hawaii, and they certainly aren't my priorities.
Thank you for reading. If you'd like to stay in touch with me, please visit my website www.hirono.house.gov to send an email, call my District Office at (808) 541-1986 or send me a tweet at @maziehirono. The direct (free) numbers to call my office from the neighbor islands are:
Hawaii Island -- 935-3756
Kauai & Niihau -- 245-1951
Lanai -- 565-7199
Maui -- 242-1818
Molokai -- 552-0160
Mazie K. Hirono
Member of Congress
2nd District of Hawaii