Nine National Civil Rights Groups Urge Congress to Oppose Tax Bill

November 29 2017

WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, the National Urban League led the NAACP, National Action Network, League of United Latin American Citizens, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, and UnidosUS in sending a letter to Congress urging them to oppose the so-called “tax reform” bill. The full letter follows.

November 29, 2017

Dear Members of Congress:

On behalf of the National Urban League and the undersigned leaders of national civil rights organizations we write to urge rejection of the proposed tax legislation now before you. By giving huge tax cuts to wealthy Americans and profitable corporations—cuts that will inevitably be paid for with funding cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, education and other vital public services—this tax plan is bad for America generally, but especially bad for communities of color.

According to independent analyses, the benefits of the proposed tax cuts are heavily slanted towards the top 1% of Americans and the corporations and other large businesses they own. In order to secure these cuts, the Congressional budget proposes nearly $6 trillion in cuts to services that working Americans—including many African Americans and Latinos—rely on to get by and get ahead.

The budget facilitating the tax cuts would strip $1 trillion from Medicaid over a decade. Twelve million African Americans and 20 million Latinos depend on Medicaid for their health care. The Pell Grants that 62 percent of African American students and half of Latino students depend on to attend college would be slashed. SNAP (commonly known as food stamps) ensures 13 million African Americans and 10 million Latinos have enough to eat, but is slated for deep reductions as well. The list goes on.

This misguided tax plan will exacerbate our nation’s already troubling and growing income and wealth inequality. The yawning gap between a tiny elite and the vast majority of Americans destabilizes our economy and sours our society. Steep tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy owners of so-called “pass-through” businesses would funnel even more money to those at the top. Abolishing the estate tax would accelerate the accumulation of dynastic wealth and power.

The tax proposal calls for repealing the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate in order to finance tax cuts of nearly $100,000 for those at the very top of the income scale. Paired with cuts to health care, nutrition assistance, housing programs, job training and other services that help working families survive and thrive, these ACA cuts ensure greater economic inequality.

Though the African American and Latino communities continue to make great strides, their historical exclusion from economic opportunities not only make them less likely to share in tax cuts primarily benefitting the wealthy, but more vulnerable because of the related budget cuts to programs critical to communities of color and reductions in public services caused by shrinking federal revenues.

All of our organizations were founded on moral principles, including equal opportunity, compassion for those in need, and accountability from those in power. This tax plan violates all those principles. In so doing, it not only injures the material well-being of our constituents, but insults their ideals as well.

We call upon you to reject this ill-advised tax cut bill.

Sincerely,

Marc H. Morial
President and CEO
National Urban League

Melanie L. Campbell
President and CEO
National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
Convener, Black Women’s Roundtable

Vanita Gupta
President and CEO
Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Kristen Clarke
President and Executive Director
Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Derrick Johnson
President and CEO
NAACP

Sherrilyn Ifill
President and Director-Counsel
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund

Janet Murguía
President and CEO
UnidosUS

Rev. Al Sharpton
Founder and President
National Action Network

Brent Wilkes
Chief Executive Officer
League of United Latin American Citizens

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