By Debra Dassow
I’ve spent 36 years as a public school teacher because it was one way of giving back to my community. I will never forget the thrill of getting the phone call telling me I was hired. I began my career, making $8,700 a year. I thought I was rich! When I chose to pursue a career in public education, it wasn’t because I believed that I would achieve a lavish lifestyle, but because I wanted to make a difference. My salary and benefits allowed me to support my family. And I thought that at the end of the day, we lived in a fair and equitable society where people paid their fair share and did their part.
I thought this was especially true of elected officials – but Sen. Ron Johnson has completely dissolved any notion of fairness I once believed existed; because if a United States senator can openly rig the system in a way that enriches themselves and their benefactors, what hope do the rest of us have?
This feels all too real with Tax Day this past week. The very people Johnson fights for in Washington – billionaires and giant corporations – could be paying less in taxes than me, my fellow teachers, and other public servants like firefighters.
This is no small part due to Johnson’s efforts to change the 2017 tax bill in a way that benefitted his own company and the billionaire families who have supported his campaigns. Johnson’s two wealthiest campaign donors received tax cuts totaling $215 million in 2018 alone, all thanks to the “special” provision that Johnson muscled through.
And now Johnson expects us to pick up the tab, despite the fact it was him and his party that added nearly $2 trillion to the deficit. He’s expressed support for a GOP platform that would raise taxes on half of Americans and 32% of us Wisconsinites. That’s nearly 1 in 3 of us who have to pay for Johnson’s handouts.
Johnson and the Republican Party are not looking to target the ultra-wealthy who are sitting on yachts with money to burn. No, they want working people like us to pay the price. We get the Republicans’ message, loud and clear: they want to raise taxes on working families like mine – on teachers, small business owners, and nurses.
Frankly, Johnson is out of excuses. He’s made clear he thinks the top 1% pay their fair share, he refuses to fight for good-paying jobs in our state, and won’t do anything to help fight inflation. I fear if he wins a third term he will just keep rigging the system against us and in his favor.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress have been standing up for working families and lowering costs – even in the face of Republicans like Johnson fighting tooth and nail to halt all progress. In delivering the American Rescue Plan, which passed without the vote of a single Republican in Congress, Democrats lowered costs for families across our country, expanded access to affordable health care, and delivered tax cuts for working parents. Just this past month, Biden reaffirmed his allegiance to middle-class Americans over billionaires when he included a Billionaire Tax in his newest budget proposal – which simply asks the richest Americans to pay their fair share and alleviate strain on middle-class families.
I want this to be the last Tax Day where I’ll likely pay more in income taxes than millionaire Johnson and his billionaire donors. That’s why I’m voting against Johnson this November and continuing to support Democrats like Sen.Tammy Baldwin. I can’t afford to keep paying for his self-serving agenda, and I doubt you can either.