I admire Senator Heitkamp's "no" vote on the Republican tax bill. It took guts, the kind that all North Dakotans have when standing up for their own. It couldn't have been an easy vote for a centrist Democrat seeking reelection in a red state, but the senator made the right call.
Under the GOP bill, more than 30,000 North Dakota middle class households will actually see their taxes increase; by 2027, North Dakotans will face, on average, a tax increase of nearly $10,000. That's enough for a family to pay for a year of school for their son or daughter at North Dakota State University with about $2,000 left over. Think about other possible uses for this money, like financing a car, paying a mortgage or saving for retirement.
This bill will increase North Dakotans' taxes in the long run and add $1.5 trillion to our national debt. That's $1.5 trillion that will have to be paid back someday, and it will land on the shoulders of younger generations. This impact to the debt should make us all skeptical. Republicans needed to show why this bill is worth the $1.5 trillion price tag, but they failed to do so.
Instead, they forced a vote on the bill before anyone had a chance to read or analyze its 479 pages. Neither Republicans nor Democrats had an adequate understanding of what was in this bill, but they were forced to vote in a matter of hours after receiving the final text, which included hasty hand-written edits.
Now, as an English major, I have attempted to read a few hundred pages in a few hours. To do so, I have to skim. I miss details. I read things incorrectly. Alternatively, I prefer to read and reread, picking up on the details and asking questions along the way, especially when a document has lasting impacts.
Regardless of politics, Heitkamp refused to say "yes" to a $1.5 trillion bill that was presented in a way that made it impossible to fully understand the bill prior to voting.
Pouliot, Fargo, is membership director of the College Democrats of North Dakota.