Tax plan protest

Local resident and Marquette Indivisible organizer CAbove, local resident and Marquette Indivisible organizer Chip O’Neill, left, and Rise UP! organizer Susan Uballe are seen holding signs. Both women oppose the new GOP tax plan which is being discussed in Washington, D.C. “What is this (bill) going to do for the future?” O’Neill asked. Below, nearly 50 protesters marched in front of the U.S. Post Office in downtown Marquette Monday afternoon. (Journal photos by Jaymie Depew)

MARQUETTE — About 50 people protested the new U.S. House Republican-backed tax plan Monday in front of the U.S. Post Office in downtown Marquette.

Several protestors called the tax reform a “scam,” stating the bill would negatively affect the middle class but benefit the upper class.

“This is a protest of the proposed Republican tax plan that will heavily benefit high income taxpayers on the backs of the middle class,” said Susan Uballe of Marquette in a press release. “We have to make sure those in office know we will hold them accountable for crippling our working class communities.”

Uballe helps organize Rise UP!, a local organization that urges Upper Peninsula residents to engage and take action on social and political issues.

The nonpartisan protest wasn’t just for Rise UP! members but for anyone who also opposes the 429-page Republican tax plan.

Many, including Uballe, say if the bill passes, the new tax plan introduced by House Republicans could have negative implications for graduate students and those with student loans. One of the items in the reform would put an end to forgiving student debt because of death or disability.

“Republicans keep saying this bill is going to help the middle class when it will not,” said Marquette Indivisible organizer Chip O’Neill. “The bill is criminal and they’re trying to pass it under the radar.”

Uballe agreed and said opposing the bill is important for future generations.

The American Association of State College and Universities issued a release stating its disappointment with the House proposal.

“Tax reform provides a historic opportunity for simplifying the tax code while promoting policies that improve the nation’s economy and its international competitiveness. We are disappointed that the proposal unveiled today undermines public higher education through its elimination of deductibility of state and local income and sales taxes, important tax advantages for students and families, and critical tax benefits for institutions,” the release said. “These changes together would make college less affordable for the vast majority of students who access higher education through public colleges and universities. We look forward to working with Congress and the administration to address these concerns.”

According to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” will add $1.51 trillion to the national debt.

Several protestors in Marquette said they’ve voiced their concerns with Jack Bergman, Michigan’s 1st District congressman, but they’re not being listened to.

“So many of my friends and neighbors have contacted our elected officials saying we don’t have the money in our checking accounts to cover this tax plan, and yet officials like our representative, Jack Bergman, have come out in support of the plan,” Megan Collier, a Sands Township resident, said in a release. “It’s clear he’s not really in touch with folks in the communities he represents. If he was, he would know a tax burden on the middle class like this will break us beyond repair.”

The Mining Journal reached out to the Marquette County Republican Party for comment but it did not reply before press time today.

Jaymie Depew can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. Her email address is