FRIDAY 11/03/2017

FEDERAL:

Oppose the Tax Scam Bill*

We have now had the opportunity to review the tax bill, and it is profoundly destructive. It will do massive damage to middle- and working-class families. Here are some lowlights of the Republican tax plan which is really a massive shift of wealth from the middle class to the uber rich and corporations, threatening social security, Medicare and Medicaid:

-cuts the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent.

-eliminates deductions for medical expenses or property and casualty losses.

-cuts the deduction for state and local governments taxes paid.

-ends the alternative minimum tax, (whose purpose is to make sure that the uber rich can’t take so many deductions and credits that they end up paying next to nothing in federal income taxes.)

-lowers the "pass-through" tax rate to 25 percent. (This is where some businesses’ income is taxed at the lower individual rather than the higher corporate rates.)

-begins the gradual elimination of the estate tax

- removes the student-loan interest deduction

-gets rid of a tax incentive for businesses to make themselves ADA compliant

- The bill would add up to $1.5 trillion over 10 years to the national deficit

-The bill also inserts anti-choice language by classifying “unborn children” as being able to earn tax credits for investing in college savings accounts known as 529s.

One of the biggest issues is the elimination of the Johnson Amendment. This Amendment allows churches to remain tax free with the stipulation that they will not endorse political candidates. Now, with the elimination of the Johnson Amendment, churches could be turned into SuperPACs on steroids. They would still be tax-exempt, which means they would be able to take anonymous donations and then turn and use those funds to support political candidates.

-In anticipation of this move, in August, a group of more than 4,000 religious leaders from around the country wrote a letter opposing efforts to repeal the Johnson Amendment, saying it “would harm houses or worship, which are not identified or divided by partisan lines”:

-in October nearly 100 Democratic lawmakers sent a letter the ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee, urging the committee to keep the Johnson Amendment in place.

Removing the Johnson Amendment would be just one of the many pernicious effects of this awful bill. Let’s make those phones ring off the hook so our lawmakers hear clearly that we know this bill is a scam. Post comments letting everyone know that you called. I’ve included a script below, but feel free to improvise with some of the bullet points above. Light up those phones, everyone!

* Credit to Jennifer Rudolph for compiling much of the research on the tax bill.

Script:

Hello, I am a constituent calling to tell Sen./Rep. _________________ not to support the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The bill will provide enormous tax cuts for the wealthy while also cutting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. I’m opposed to the fact that the bill eliminates the deductions for medical expenses, cuts the deduction for state and local taxes paid, caps the mortgage interest deduction, and eliminates the student loan interest deduction. All of these provisions will hurt middle-class families. I’m also concerned about the elimination of the Johnson Amendment. This opens up a Pandora's Box for churches to become the equivalent of SuperPACs, where wealthy donors can channel money to endorse candidates. This is a dangerous and destructive bill, and I want Sen./Rep. _______________ to vote against it.

 

Tillis:

DC: (202) 224-6342

Charlotte: 704-509-9087

Greenville: (252) 329-0371

Hendersonville: (828) 693-8750

High Point: (336) 885-0685

Raleigh: (919) 856-4630

 

Burr

DC: (202) 224-3154

Winston-Salem: (800) 685-8916

Rocky Mount: (252) 977-9522

Wilmington: (888) 848-1833, (336) 631-5125

Asheville: (828) 350-2437

House:

https://www.house.gov/representatives/

 

____________________

STATE:

Support an independent judiciary for North Carolina:

The NCGA Senate Select Committee on Judicial Reform and Redistricting is meeting Wed, November 08, 2017 at 1:00 in 643 LOB. Remember how we learned in elementary school that there are THREE branches of government? Well, the NCGOP wants to get rid of one of them The NCGOP-controlled state legislature has passed several bills and introduced others so that it can control and manipulate judges.

The North Carolina House passed a bill - HB 717 - that will gerrymander NC's court and prosecutorial districts. That bill has now gone to the NC Senate. This plan seems to be BOTH a partisan gerrymander and a racial gerrymander. Certainly, if passed, there will be challenges filled in court - wasting more taxpayer $$$$ over YEARS before we have any hope of getting justice. And, frankly, America may no longer be a democracy by then.

It is important to speak up at committee meetings. At the “Covington” hearing on Oct. 12, NCGA attorney Phil Strach defended many of the challenged districts by saying "nobody told us NOT to do it this way" in the legislative committee hearings. Strach kept making arguments along the line of “nobody said there was a problem with this” at the legislative committee meetings. The Judge actually had to ask Strach repeatedly, “do you agree that the General Assembly has an independent duty to comply with state and federal law EVEN IF no one specifically brings it up on the legislative record?”

So, it’s urgent that we let members of the Senate Judiciary committee know that we OPPOSE HB 717. Call the Senate Judiciary Committee, and if you can attend in person, please do so. Also if you tweet, share the “background” article from Stronger NC. You can also write to your local newspapers to help bring awareness to this issue.

Background from Stronger NC:

http://strongernc.org/nc-judiciary-attack/

 

Script:

Hello, I am a constituent from _____________ calling to urge Sen. _____________ to oppose the unconstitutional HB 717, which would redraw judicial districts in ways that would violate the recent Supreme Court ruling against racial gerrymandering. This bill also shortens the terms for judges, which would force them to campaign more frequently. If this bill is passed, it would lead to multiple court challenges, which would waste taxpayer dollars. Please oppose HB 717. Thank you.

 

Committee members:

http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/Committees/Committees.asp…

 

Full Senate Contact List:

http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/members/memberListNoPic.pl?sChamber=Senate