October 2017 U.S. Poverty Action

Write Letters to Protect Anti-Poverty Programs in Tax Legislation

This month, Congress  is moving forward on their FY 2018 budget resolution. Both the House and  Senate proposals include reconciliation instructions to allow Congress to “fast track” large tax cuts for the wealthy (the chart is from the House’s “Better Way” plan, which is similar to the current proposal). The cuts threaten the viability of critical anti-poverty programs. The House budget outright demands cuts to SNAP, Medicaid, the Earned Income Tax Credit to help pay for their tax cuts. The Senate simply calls for at least $1.5 trillion in deficit-increasing tax cuts, deficits that will be used to justify deep cuts to anti-poverty programs.

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 Congress would include massive tax cuts to the wealthy and big corporations in its new tax plan, while raising taxes on low-income Americans.
  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, the Earned Income Tax Credit, 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.
  5. Remind them that recent Census data shows that the EITC and Child Tax Credit lifted 8.2 million people out of poverty in 2016 and SNAP lifted 3.6 million above the poverty line.
  6. Tell your member of Congress that it is unconscionable that Congress would enact massive tax cuts for the rich and ask children, seniors, working families, and people with disabilities to pay for them.
  7. Urge your members of Congress to reject any budget or tax proposal that gives huge tax cuts to the wealthy and big corporations and put core anti-poverty programs at risk.

Engage Others on Taxes and the Budget

Last month, we encouraged volunteers to use the new poverty data to train others to take action on poverty issues. This month’s tax and budget debates are a great opportunity to continue that effort. The RESULTS September 2017 U.S. Poverty Action some excellent tips for holding community conversation. Please review those tips and see our Outreach Resources page (PPT advocacy trainings, Laser Talks, Action Sheets, and other resources) as you continue your outreach work this month. Use the draft agenda below as a guide to help you (please tailor it to your particular event).

Draft Agenda for Advocacy Training

  1. Welcome: Have people introduce themselves and share what prompted them to come to your event
  2. Share the Why. Help people understand why gathering together to talk about the new budget proposals – and the need to speak out about it – is important at this time. Here are some ideas:
    1. Explain how the proposed budgets call for big tax cuts that benefit the wealth and big corporations and either explicitly (House) or implicitly (Senate) use cuts to Medicaid, SNAP and other anti-poverty programs to pay for them.
    2. Share why YOU care about this issue and give others the opportunity to share their motivations too and/or a local story focusing on poverty (personal, in the media, a video, a book).
  3. Explain the What. Use our new PPT presentations (new poverty data, attacks on programs, U.S. poverty quiz, the latest on the budget) to show what’s at stake right now. Find PPT options here.
  4. Give people the opportunity to ask questions and share their thoughts on what they are learning.
  5. Share recent successes of your local RESULTS group
  6. Do an Advocacy Training.
  7. Outline the How. Explain how RESULTS works to empower people like you and everyone in the room to not sit idly by and watch things happen, but do something about it.
    1. Give people a skill they can walk away with. PPTs options: do a Laser Talk trainings, teach people how to meet with members of Congress, or give a media training. See our updated U.S. Poverty Laser Talks for guidance.
  8. Take Action. Have people practice laser talks and then make a phone call to their congressional offices, write a letter (use the first page of this action sheet), or write a letter to the editor.
  9. Bring It Home. Ask people to share their thoughts about the training. Explain that if they want to do more, invite them to your next RESULTS meeting (give out a flyer if you have one). Distribute sign up forms to for them to receive e-mail updates from RESULTS.

You can download a printable version of this Action (PDF or Word). If you need help with event ideas or materials, please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]).