Federal Tax Overhaul Debated at LA Town Hall

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti discusses impacts to Los Angeles residents at the traveling TrumpTax Town Hall, with federal tax policy expert Chye-Ching Huang (left) of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Ann O’Leary, national policy leader with law firm Boies Schiller Flexner. (Nathan Solis/CNS)

LOS ANGELES (CN) – Uncertainties of what the recent tax overhaul plan will mean for the average American remain weeks after its passage, but in Los Angeles it means higher taxes for low- and middle-income families and a reduction in health care.

That’s according to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who joined a panel as part of a touring tax forum that stopped in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles on Monday afternoon.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Jimmy Gomez planned to join Garcetti, but pulled out of the event due to the federal government shutdown. During Monday’s town hall, the House and Senate approved a plan to fund the government for three weeks.

Outside the venue, a man shouted into a bullhorn that Garcetti discriminated against Trump supporters. They protested outside the venue because they were not allowed inside, according to Dura Young. A couple of Trump supporters did make it inside the venue and jeered Garcetti.

“We’re for President Trump,” said Young. “We don’t want sanctuary cities and I’m tired of paying for all the people who come here illegally.”

Onstage, Garcetti was joined by federal tax policy expert Chye-Ching Huang with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Ann O’Leary, national policy leader with law firm Boies Schiller Flexner.

Garcetti did not mince his words about the GOP tax plan.

“I don’t trust the word of Mitch McConnell,” said Garcetti of the Senate majority leader and Republican senator from Kentucky.

Huang said, “Republicans in Congress have said for years that they wanted to do this tax bill and then cut programs that work for the economy and for middle-income people.”

Garcetti added, “We have a politics right now that defines itself in the White House, in the majority in Congress, by what it can take away. It can take away their health care, their health rights, their civil rights, their protections, their environmental rights.”

A man in the audience then interrupted Garcetti.

“Are you ready to take down Aliso Canyon, Eric?” the man said, referring to the massive methane gas leak in 2015 that displaced several nearby communities. “Shut it down, Garcetti. Shut it down.”

As the man was escorted out of the venue, Garcetti quipped, “Repetition is always good in politics.”

He continued, “When you look at what happened in this tax bill it was an inversion of American values. The way I think about it, it was an un-American tax bill.

“People say, ‘What can we do to reverse this?’ You can reverse Congress. You can flip the house,” Garcetti said.

Local community activist couple Jarin and Maruf Islam sat front row at the town hall. They wanted to ask Pelosi questions about how politics became this way over the last several years.

“What I’d like to see are more people willing to fight for the middle class, those who can make an effort to listen to the will of the people,” said Jarin Islam.

Maruf Islam asked Garcetti if he would run for president in 2020.

“I don’t think any of us should be looking at 2020. I respect different opinions that are here today – 2018 is the fault line,” Garcetti said. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves on anything besides what’s before us.”


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