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Upton challengers talk GOP tax plan at protest

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. -- The six Democrats who are hoping to win over Congressman Fred Upton’s House seat in 2018 spoke about the Republican tax plan at a protest outside Upton’s St. Joe office on Friday.

Several dozen demonstrators gathered outside the office on Main Street Friday evening.

The protest was hosted by the Berrien County Democratic Party.

The six congressional candidates spoke to attendees and then spoke with ABC57 about the tax proposal Republicans hope to make law by the New Year.

Candidate David Benac

“The two things I’d like to see in there—earned income tax credit really needs to be expanded,” Benac said. “The other thing is the child tax credit really needs to be added there and expanded.”

He added, “Working people are going to suffer just so the one percent, the wealthy, the corporations can get bigger cuts.”

Candidate George Franklin

“They’re going to have a trillion dollar deficit,” Franklin said, referring to Republicans. “And now they’re starting to talk about, ‘Well now we’re in debt so we have to reduce programs.’ So it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. You ought to have a tax bill to raise revenue, not to give it to your friends.”

Candidate Matt Longjohn

“Neither one of those bills work well enough for working families and small business owners here in southwest Michigan,” Longjohn said. “The balance is all wrong. We’re giving away a lot of resources to those who need them least.”

Candidate Eponine Garrod

“I especially would like to add additional tax brackets to make sure that we are alleviating the burden of taxes from the impoverished and the middle class and instead distributing it equally across, all the way up to the top,” Garrod said. “But that means we need to have more brackets. And that means that corporations can’t be the ones getting the permanent tax breaks.”

Candidate Rich Eichholz

“Honestly this bill is so disastrous, I would just kill the whole thing,” Eichholz said. “There’s almost nothing that’s good about it – there are little tiny parts that look like, maybe, they might be useful. But really, cutting taxes is not our problem. We need to grow the economy. You don’t grow the economy by cutting taxes.”

Candidate Paul Clements

“We certainly need to simplify the tax code,” Clements said. “But the tax code is not the main issue facing the people in this district. The main issue is our economy is not working for the working people, it’s working for the very wealthy.”

Click here to hear Congressman Upton talk about the GOP plan’s potential impact on the deficit.

And click here to hear an Andrews University business professor talk about the Republican tax bill.

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