November 2017 U.S. Poverty Action

Write Letters to Congress to Stop Cuts to Anti-Poverty Programs from Tax Legislation

House and Senate leaders are moving quickly to pass massive tax legislation – that is moving forward on their FY 2018 budget resolution. The plan jeopardizes the future of essential basic health, nutrition, education and other programs for- low and moderate-income Americans by enacting huge tax cuts for the rich and running up the deficit. On top of that, the plan intentionally excludes low-income people from the few benefits this plan actually offers working families. While wealthier families would get the Child Tax Credit (CTC), 10 million low-income children in working families would not receive the $600 per child increase in the CTC in the House bill (and only a $75 increase in the Senate bill). And approximately 1 million low-income immigrant children could lose the CTC altogether.  

Instead, Congress should focus on creating opportunity and reducing poverty by substantially increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit for low-income families in a bipartisan tax bill that does not increase deficits. Just as with the recent health care debate, it is going to take strong grassroots opposition to stop these reckless policies. You can start today by writing letters to both your senators and your representative telling them to oppose tax cuts for millionaires and big corporations.

  1. Introduce yourself as a constituent who cares about poverty and that you’re also a RESULTS volunteer.
  2. Inform your member of Congress that you are dismayed Congressional leaders are paving the way for cuts to basic health and nutrition assistance for unpaid-for tax breaks that go primarily to the rich.
  3. Tell him/her that enacting these reckless tax cuts will cost trillions of dollars over the next decade, which will be added to the deficit, and greatly widen wealth inequality in America.
  4. Explain that SNAP, Medicaid, education, and other basic assistance tens of millions of Americans rely on are at grave risk of being cut to pay for these new tax cuts – and if you can share firsthand about the importance of these programs for your family or in your community, that will make your letter even more powerful.
  5. Share your concern about the lost opportunity to support low-income working families by expanding the refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit -- while wealthier families would get the Child Tax Credit (CTC), 10 million low-income children in working families would not receive the $600 per child increase in the CTC in the House bill(if possible, include state data) or a minimal $75 increase in the Senate bill, and approximately 1 million low-income immigrant children could lose the CTC altogether.
  6. Tell your member of Congress that it is unconscionable that Congress would enact massive tax cuts primarily for the rich and ask children, seniors, working families, and people with disabilities to pay for them.
  7. Urge your members of Congress to focus on creating opportunity and reducing poverty by substantially increasing effective policies like the t Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit for low-income families in a bipartisan tax bill that does not increase deficits.  

Comparing the House and Senate Tax Bills

Make no mistake, both the House and Senate bills are bad policy. They both cuts taxes dramatically for the rich and big corporations and for the most part leave low-income Americans from receiving any benefits from these plans. Here are the key differences important to RESULTS between the two bills:

Provision

House Tax Bill

Senate Tax Bill

Child Tax Credit amount

Increases from $1,000 per child to $1,600 per child but the additional $600 is non-refundable – leaving 10 million low-income children out of any CTC boost.

Increases from $1,000 per child to $2,000 per child but 10 million low-income children get only a $75 boost and another 14 million get less than the full increase.

Child Tax Credit eligibility

Households earning less than $3,000 remain ineligible for the credit. Increases maximum income to receive the full credit from $110,000 per couple to $230,000 per couple.

Slightly lower the earnings threshold to $2,500. Increases maximum income to receive the full credit from $110,000 per couple to $500,000 per couple.

Child Tax Credit eligibility for immigrant families

Requires child to have a Social Security Number to claim the CTC (currently family only needs an Individual Tax Identification Number)

Same as House

Tax rates for low-income Americans

Raises the tax rate for lowest income households from 10 to 12 percent

Keeps current 10 percent rate

These are just a few of the wrong-headed changes contained in these tax proposals.

Tax Bill Paves the Way for Cuts to Basic Assistance

Paving the Way to Cuts to Assistance

By adding $1.5 trillion to the federal budget deficit, Congressional leaders are paving the way for cuts to SNAP, Medicaid, education, and other basic assistance. In addition to writing letters, request face-to-face meetings and/or set up calls with the tax aides in your House and Senate offices to talk about the tax proposals. 

And, we need to help others in our communities understand the connection between cuts and taxes. Several RESULTS groups are doing outreach events to educate, train, and mobilize others – join them! For more, see our Outreach Resources page (PPT advocacy trainings, Laser Talks, Action Sheets, and other resources) and contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) for more resources.