TAX BILL’S LONG-TERM HARM OVERSHADOWS SALT IMPACT

Last year’s major federal tax bill –the so-called Tax Cut and Jobs Act— has left many in New Jersey very angry and concerned. And for good reason, even though other aspects of the bill will likely do far more serious and long-term damage, here and elsewhere.

Attention has focused on that part of the legislation with the most obvious detrimental impact on the state and its residents –a newly imposed $10,000 limit on the deduction for state and local taxes.

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CHAIR OF PURGED BOARD DECRIES GUTTING OF PRO-CONSUMER AGENCY

As Director of the Fair Financial Services Project of Texas Appleseed, a sister organization and part of our collaborative network, Ann Baddour helps bring low-income and immigrant consumers into the financial mainstream, combating problems such as predatory lending. For the past four years, she has also been a member of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Consumer Advisory Board, or CAB, and since last October, has served as CAB chairwoman.

On June 6, Baddour and the rest of the 25-member volunteer board were removed, two days after 11 of them held a press conference, criticizing the cancellations of CAB meetings and apparent efforts to sideline the Board since a Trump appointee took over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB.

Read what she has to say about it in a New York Times op-ed published on June 7, entitled “Why Did the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Fire Us?”

According to Baddour, the CFPB, “established to put the financial well-being of families ahead of the interests of lobbyists and Wall Street,” is being “gutted.”

“This sudden move and other recent changes at the bureau, including efforts to loosen rules intended to protect families and businesses, raise the worrisome prospect that the country will once again end up on a path to foreclosed homes, market failures and taxpayer bailouts,” wrote Baddour.  Continue reading CHAIR OF PURGED BOARD DECRIES GUTTING OF PRO-CONSUMER AGENCY

BAD BUSINESS

If you are like me and the folks at New Jersey Appleseed and have an interest in keeping tabs on corporate crimes and other misdeeds, I have just the website for you.

The Violation Tracker database has about 300,000 entries that reflect more than $394 billion in fines and settlements. It was compiled by the Corporate Research Project of Good Jobs First—a national group based in Washington, D.C. that describes itself as “a national policy resource center for grassroots groups and public officials, promoting corporate and government accountability in economic development and smart growth for working families.”

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STRIKE SAID TO TEST FUTURE OF UNIONS

When 40,000 Verizon workers—including about 4,600 in New Jersey—went on strike last year, I read a lot of news stories about it and on my trips to New York City, I saw people walking the picket line. The strike ended after almost two months, with both sides claiming victory and it appeared the workers had come out ahead—winning pension increases, ratification bonuses, new call center jobs and other concessions.

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FIRST GORSUCH OPINION OPENS DOOR TO DEBT COLLECTION ABUSES

Justice Neil Gorsuch, the newest addition to the U.S. Supreme Court, recently authored his first opinion and it is one likely to have negative repercussions for large numbers of people who find themselves unable to pay their bills.

Henson v. Santander Consumer USA, decided on June 12, concerns the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or FDCPA, a federal law that is meant to protect against abusive, unfair, and deceptive practices in the collection of consumer debt– debt incurred primarily for personal, family, or household purposes.

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Don’t Play Politics with Charity Care

Written by Linda J. Schwimmer

Charity-care dollars have to go to safety-net hospitals, rather than being distributed to every facility in the state

New Jersey hospitals cannot legally — or, in my opinion, morally –turn away patients who need care but cannot pay. They also cannot turn away patients who pay less because they are covered by Medicaid and not private insurance. Hospital doors in New Jersey are open to all people who are sick or injured and in need of emergency care.

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