Middle Class Tax Cuts First
In a victory for Fair Share's Middle Class Tax Cuts First campaign, Senate leaders and the White House came together on Jan. 1 to work out a compromise deal to extend critical tax cuts for American’s income up to $450,000 for a household, preventing a major tax hike on America’s middle class. The compromise bill passed both the Senate and the House, and was signed by President Obama. The Middle Class Tax Cuts First campaign brought together more than 500 small businesses and community organizations to call for extending middle class tax cuts.
We are grateful that President Obama, Vice President Biden and leaders in the Senate came together to craft a bipartisan bill that will extend tax cuts for the middle class. Families and small businesses can breathe easier this new year, knowing that their taxes will not go up drastically in 2013.
Cliff averted, but debate continues
There are continuing talks about our nation’s budget – including what programs we as a society want to pay for and how we should pay for them.
At Fair Share, we believe that we are all in this together. We are all going to need to chip in to ensure that everybody has a good job, that our kids get a world class education, and that our parents are well cared for as they grow old. In the meantime, experts say that the best thing we can do to get our country’s economic engine going again is to invest in the middle class.
Stopping middle class tax hikes was a good first step. Tax hikes for the middle class couldn’t come at a worse time. The economy is still weak, and millions are still looking for work. If the compromise measure had failed, the average family would have paid $1,600 more than they pay now, 1.6 million jobs would have been lost, and consumer spending would be cut by $200 billion -- dragging down the whole economy.
In order to protect these critical tax cuts, we sent organizers out to 20 districts across the country to convince our elected officials to do the right thing — especially as Republican leaders were holding these tax cuts hostage in order to preserve tax cuts for the wealthy. We made our voices heard again and again and again by doing what we do best — knocking on doors, bringing people from all walks of life together, organizing town hall-style meetings and rallies, and holding our elected officials' feet to the fire.
We knew that middle class tax cuts had broad bipartisan support, and overwhelming public support. But in order to win, we had to convince a number of Republican representatives that extending middle class tax cuts was more important than preserving tax breaks for the very wealthy. To do that, we targeted swing voters in the House, and made sure they heard from the people they represent about what a tax hike would mean to them.
Here are a couple example of work we've done in the last few week:
• In Massachusetts, targeting Sen. Scott Brown, who voted in favor of the measure, we brought together local church leaders and small businesses to highlight how tax hikes will affect working families.
• In Pennsylvania, multiple small business owners spoke at our event outside Philadelphia and then delivered your signatures to Rep. Jim Gerlach's office, where we met with the director of Rep. Gerlach's staff. Rep. Gerlach was one of the few House Republicans to vote in favor of the measure.
• In California, organizer Patrick Stelmach had his letter-to-the editor published on Dec. 31 in the Sacramento Bee, chiding House Republicans for delaying middle class tax cuts. Sacramento-area Republican Rep. Dan Lungren voted in favor of the bill.