On September 28, Prepare + Prosper and Prosperity Now co-hosted the 2017 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance—or VITA—Convening in Saint Paul, Minnesota. More than 80 people from free tax preparation programs of all shapes and sizes from across the country came together to share insights, spark peer discussions, and learn about work being done by others in the field.

The day was energizing and powerful, not only by way of information shared but in connections made and community strengthened. As people traveled back to their respective corners of the country—from Miami to Portland to Cincinnati to Ithaca to Winston-Salem—with new ideas, I followed-up with a few to ask what they learned and wanted to share with those unable to join the day’s conversations.

Below is what they had to say.

In addition to only minimal tax breaks for the bottom 80% of Americans, the proposals will, by blowing up the federal budget with a $1.5 trillion deficit, likely result in spending cuts that could endanger programs on which the most vulnerable rely. The people we serve may see minimal immediate benefits from the tax plans. However, some of the tax benefits, like the $300 dependent care credit, are temporary, and any gains from the plans will likely be offset by dangerous spending cuts down the line.

From big tickets items—such as elimination of the individual health insurance mandate under the Affordable Care Act, cuts to property tax deductions, and elimination of the estate tax—to smaller changes—including elimination of teachers’ ability to deduct supply expenses and changes that could double or triple the tax liability of graduate students—the House and Senate tax bills are too big to rush.

We need reasonable and well-thought-out reforms that help and not hurt taxpayers. Congress is on the wrong path—one that presents both a short- and long-term danger to low- and moderate- income Americans. It’s time to acknowledge that 2017 is not the year for tax reform—especially reform that could negatively impact generations to come.

Tracy Fischman
Executive Director
Prepare + Prosper

David Marzahl
President and CEO
Center for Economic Progress

I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.