Fact Check

Fact checker: Ad targets Blum over tax vote

(image captured from YouTube video)
(image captured from YouTube video)


U.S. Rep. Rod Blum voted for the House GOP tax plan that “gives millionaires (a) huge tax break,” “raises taxes on 36 million middle-class families” and “gets rid of things like the medical expense deduction.”

Source of claim

The claims are part of a TV ad targeting Blum, R-Dubuque, by Not One Penny, a left-leaning coalition that includes TaxMarch, MoveOn and the Working Families Party. The ad slams Blum for his vote for the House Republicans’ tax overhaul, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, or H.R. 1, which passed the full House Nov. 16, according to GovTrack.us.

First claim

Analysis: The first claim is a little subjective because “huge” to one person may not be huge to another. But H.R. 1 does give some of the largest tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans, especially over time because of the expiration of some tax credits, according to an analysis from the Tax Policy Center, a partnership between the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution.

The bill would cut taxes by an average of about $1,200 in 2018, the center reports.

The lowest-income households (less than about $25,000) would pay about 0.4 percent less, while taxpayers in the middle-income quintile (between $48,000 and $86,000) would see an average tax cut of about 1.4 percent of after-tax income, the center reports. The 1-percenters with more than $730,000 annual income would see an average tax cut of 2.5 percent of after-tax income.

By 2027, the nation’s top 1 percent would get nearly half the bill’s net tax cuts, the center reported.

Conclusion: We give this claim an A.

Second claim

Analysis: Middle-income households would get an average tax cut of slightly more than $800, or 1.4 percent of after-tax income, in 2018, according to the Tax Policy Center’s analysis of the House GOP plan. That cut slips to an average $320 a year by 2027.

However, while the net effect of the plan is a reduction in taxes for the 36.9 million households in the middle quintile, nearly 11.4 million of those households actually would pay more in taxes, the Center found. This likely is because of the 2023 expiration of some tax credits, such as a $300 credit for non-child dependents, that target the middle class.


Conclusion: If Not One Penny had said millions of middle-class Americans would pay more in taxes under the House GOP bill, they would get an A. But they vastly overstated the number of households to see a net increase, which earns them an F.

Third claim

Analysis: H.R. 1 does get rid of the medical expense deduction, which allows people to deduct medical expenses that exceed 10 percent of their total income. Republicans, who want to increase the standard deduction instead of itemizing, say the deduction was taken by 8.8 million of 150 million taxpayers in 2015, the New York Times reported.

The AARP opposes this change, which it says would hurt middle-income, older Americans facing chronic health programs or serious illnesses.

The Senate version of the tax overhaul keeps this deduction.

Conclusion: This claim gets an A.

Overall grade: B


The Fact Checker team checks statements made by an Iowa political candidate/office holder or a national candidate/office holder about Iowa, or in advertisements that appear in our market. Claims must be independently verifiable. We give statements grades from A to F based on accuracy and context.

If you spot a claim you think needs checking, email us at factchecker@thegazette.com.

This Fact Checker was researched and written by Erin Jordan.



Introduction'He raised our taxes and enriched himself.' Source of claimThis message attacking U.S. Rep. Rod Blum, R-Dubuque, is on a billboard on Interstate 380 in Cedar Rapids. The left-leaning Mad Dog PAC paid for it and said it ...

Introduction'Hidden in their supposed tax cut is a tax increase on over half a million Iowans.''If you belong to a credit union, their new tax will make your car loans and home mortgages skyrocket.' Source of claimThese claims ar ...

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