Q&A with Cathy: Sales Tax, Job Creation, & My Ebola Response

Q&A with Cathy:

I’m excited to announce my new column, “Q&A with Cathy.” I hope you’ll submit any questions you may have – whether about the government, jobs, health care, or anything else – and I’ll answer them in this series. You can email your questions to QandAwithCathy@mail.house.gov. I look forward to hearing from you! 

Can the Sales Tax Deduction be extended to the citizens of the State of Washington when filing our income tax?

Almost a quarter of Americans live in states that do not have an income tax, but states like ours have opted for a significant sales tax to pay for important government services. Because Washington taxpayers cannot claim an income tax deduction, it is important that they have access to a state and local sales tax deduction, protecting them from paying for more than their fair share of the federal tax burden.

Unfortunately, this important deduction expired at the end of 2013. That is why I recently joined 60 of my colleagues in sending a letter to Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp and Ranking Member Sander Levin encouraging them to swiftly renew the sales tax deduction and make it permanent – because you should not be penalized for Washington state’s preferred tax structure. Please know that I will continue to encourage my colleagues on the Ways & Means Committee to include the sales tax deduction in any tax extenders package they may consider.

Do you support a travel ban from Ebola infected countries? What are you doing to prevent Ebola from reaching Eastern Washington?

We must do everything possible to protect all Americans from the growing and life-threatening risk of Ebola. I have urged the Obama Administration to consider immediate travel restrictions, such as visa bans for non-U.S. nationals in the West African countries most impacted by this disease. It is critical that both the Administration and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) act swiftly and aggressively to combat this epidemic and gain our trust and confidence.  Please know that I am continuing to advance efforts to assist the Administration’s response to combat the Ebola outbreak – including the recent approval of $750 million to support Operation United Assistance, a Department of Defense-led mission. This is a public health emergency – and it must be met with aggressive, coordinated, and immediate action.  

We are faced with the lowest job participation rate in 36 years coupled with numerous companies moving jobs and their headquarters to foreign countries. What should Congress do to preserve existing jobs, encourage companies to remain in the U.S. and foster a business environment that creates new jobs?

More than anything, we need a system that attracts growth, development, and jobs to our community and across our country. I am working every day to advance policies that create those jobs and foster an atmosphere of success – because we need solutions that grow our  economy here in Eastern Washington. That’s why I’ve supported legislation like the bipartisan SKILLS Act and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which work to close the skills gap between job seekers and job opportunities. Too many hardworking men and women in our community looking for work are stuck between the desire for a job and a lack of training to fill open jobs. It is critical we close the skills gap and connect those in Eastern Washington –from veterans to recent college graduates to the long-term unemployed – with the training they need to help them find a job.  Because a job is much more than a paycheck.  It’s the opportunity for a better future. 

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