Fall 2017 U.S. Poverty Budget and Tax Laser Talks

Protect Basic Assistance Programs like Medicaid

Engage: As an anti-poverty advocate, I am deeply concerned that Congress is moving forward on a tax plan that could lead to deep cuts to Medicaid.

Problem: The House and Senate are working to pass $1.5 trillion in tax cuts for the rich and big corporations. These cuts be paid for in the short- or long-term by slashing Medicaid.

Illustrate or Inform: Medicaid is America’s largest health insurer, providing coverage for tens of millions of people. The primary beneficiaries of Medicaid are children, seniors, and persons with disabilities. Yet leaders in Congress are already talking about putting these people at risk by cutting Medicaid and other basic assistance programs next year to help pay for their tax cuts. [If you have a personal story, please share it!]

Call to Action: Will you vote NO on any tax plan that enacts unpaid-for tax cuts for the rich and big corporations which will put Medicaid at risk? 

Protect Basic Assistance Programs like SNAP

Engage: Nearly 1 in 5 children in the U.S. live in households that are struggling against hunger.

Problem: Congress is moving forward on tax plan that will lead to deep cuts to basic assistance programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP).

Inform: SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) is the first line of defense against hunger in America. The U.S. Census reports that SNAP lifted 3.6 million people out of poverty in 2016. Yet leaders in Congress are already talking about making it harder for families to put food on the table by cutting SNAP and other basic assistance programs next year to help pay for their tax cuts. [If you have a personal story, please share it!]

Call to Action: Will you vote NO on any tax plan that enacts unpaid-for tax cuts for the rich which will put SNAP at risk?

Make Wealth Inequality a Top Priority

Engage: I am alarmed that Congress is paving the way for $1.5 trillion in deficit-increasing tax breaks for the wealthy.

Problem: In 2013, the top one percent owned 40 percent of the nation’s wealth while the bottom 40 percent owned almost nothing.

Illustrate or Inform: One aspect of wealth inequality that gets too little attention is the racial wealth gap. African American households have 6 cents for every $1 of wealth white households have (for Latinos, its 7 cents). Discriminatory tax and economic policies have made the gap worse – and Congress’ new tax plan gives 80 percent  of the tax cuts to the top 1 percent (by 2027), while paving the way for cuts to basic assistance programs.

Call to Action: Will you vote NO on any budget resolution that paves the way for unpaid-for tax cuts and ultimately lead to cuts in basic nutrition assistance programs? Instead, will you urge key tax leaders to make reducing wealth inequality and the racial wealth gap a top priority in tax legislation?  

Protect and Expand the EITC and Child Tax Credit

Engage: The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) are powerful anti-poverty tools that help millions of hard-working families make ends meet. 

Problem: However, Congress is working to pass tax legislation that will open the CTC up for wealthy families while ignoring families living in poverty.

Illustrate or Inform: The EITC is a pro-work tax credit for people in low-wage jobs and, with the CTC, lifted 8.2 million people out of poverty in 2016.  However, instead of expanding these credits to help more low-income families, the Senate bill doubles the CTC to $2000 per child – but only for wealthier families.  As a result, a couple with two children earning $500,000 would get $4,000, while a single mom with two children making $14,500 per year would get only $75 (10 million children in low-income, working families would get $75 or less).

Call to Action: Will you vote NO on tax plan that enacts unpaid-for tax cuts for the rich, and instead work to expand the EITC and CTC for low-income Americans? 


What Is a Laser Talk?

A laser talk serves as a useful starting point for your advocacy work, whether as a talking points during a town hall meeting or as a primer for face-to-face meetings with candidates and elected officials. Follow up with more information and evidence supporting your points. And of course, adapt a laser talk to reflect your own experiences and why you care about the issue! For more on how to create your own laser talk, see the RESULTS Activist Toolkit: Create and Deliver Your EPIC Laser Talk.