EDITOR’S NOTE: This Daily Poster report is being co-published with Newsweek.
This report was written by Julia Rock.
The American Rescue Plan’s $1.9 trillion of spending represents a significant and long overdue break with the budget-cutting, deficit-obsessed austerity ideology that has held sway since the Reagan Era. But that’s not all it does. A provision tucked into the final bill also aims to halt the anti-tax movement that has drained state and local coffers of resources to fund infrastructure, public education, and other basic social services.
The language, slipped into the legislation at the last minute by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, is designed to prevent federal money from subsidizing new tax cuts at a moment when some Republican-led states have been considering them.
“Money from COVID relief needs to go to helping every day Americans get through the pandemic, not paying for tax cuts for the rich,” Schumer said in a statement to The Daily Poster. “The American Rescue Plan explicitly prohibits states from using emergency COVID relief dollars to fund frivolous tax cuts. Governors should use this money to maintain public health and social assistance programs to fight the pandemic, and keep millions of other essential employees on the job and working for our communities.”
The provision, coupled with Biden’s upcoming plan to raise taxes on the wealthy, represents the first significant effort to explicitly combat the anti-tax movement that has dominated American politics for the last half century.
Such efforts suggest Democrats have learned a valuable lesson since their 2009 economic stimulus bill about the importance of prioritizing public aid for local and state governments — and keeping that aid from being waylaid by Republicans’ anti-tax zealotry.
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