Citizen Action Weekend E Newsletter; April 21 – 23
Tax Day Report: Families Face Cuts Unless Congress Stands Up to Billionaire & Corporate Tax Dodgers
As middle class and working Wisconsinites do their civic duty by filing their taxes by today’s deadline, many ultrarich Americans and the most profitable corporations avoid paying their fair share.
Citizen Action of Wisconsin is releasing a new report from Americans for Tax Fairness which shows that when billionaires and corporations dodge taxes, American families pay the price in threats to critical social supports such as Medicare, Medicaid, and food assistance. Citizen Action held a news conference in Milwaukee yesterday at historic Turner Hall to highlight the implications of the new report for Wisconsin working families.
The ultra rich are doing better than ever, realizing a 45% increase in their collective wealth since the passage of the massive Trump Tax cuts which primarily benefited the top 1% and the most profitable corporations. The nation’s 735 billionaires now hold more wealth than the bottom half of American society, or some 165 million people.
Because the wealthiest Americans use their power to avoid paying their fair share, people who play by the rules pick up the slack, paying a higher percentage of their income in taxes. Using leaked IRS data from ProPublica, the report identifies 26 billionaires who paid an average effective rate of just 4.8% from 2013 through 2018, compared to the 13.8% paid by the average person.
The top 1% of income earners also deploy armies of accountants to evade $160 billion in taxes each year. Large profitable corporations have seen their effective tax rate drop from 16% to 9% since passage of the misguided Trump tax law, with a quarter of them paying no taxes at all over a recent five-year period.
On Tax Day 2023, the choice in Washington is stark. The Republican controlled House of Representatives is using the nation’s debt ceiling as leverage to demand huge cuts in critical programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, while President Biden is calling for instead requiring the ultra rich and profitable corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. Biden proposes raising nearly $5 trillion in revenue by making the rich and corporations pay a fairer share of taxes and generate another $1 trillion in savings by addressing waste and reining in corporate price-gouging. The Biden plan would invest nearly $3 trillion to protect, expand and improve healthcare, childcare, education and housing, and provide up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave and an expanded Child Tax Credit to millions of families. It would also reduce the national debt by about $3 trillion.
Wisconsin state government faces similarly stark choices, where the Republican Legislature, with its super majority made possible by rigged legislative maps, is pushing for massive new tax cuts for the ultra rich.
“On tax day the choice is clear, savage cuts to the social safety net that middle and modest income Americans depend on, or new investments in working families funded by making the ultrarich and big corporations pay what they owe in taxes,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin.
Economist Michael David Rosen spoke about why the Trump tax cuts increase the debt and must NOT be made permanent. Instead, we need to increase taxes on the wealthy and corporations to pay for American priorities.
Citizen Action North Side Rising Awarded for Organizing Work on City/County Climate Equity Task Force
Citizen Action North Side Rising members attended a ceremony today at the Milwaukee County Board where Citizen Action and North Side Rising were honored for our organizing work on the City/County Climate Equity Task Force.
Thanks to everyone involved in this important climate justice organizing.
Citizen Action Northwest Organizing Co-op member Emily Berge sworn in as new Eau Claire City Council President
Congratulations to Citizen Action Northwest Wisconsin Organizing Cooperative member Emily Berge on her swearing in yesterday as Eau Claire City Council President. It is well deserved!
Emily serves on the city council with 4 other Citizen Action members and staff; Andrew Werthman, Jeremy Gragert, Emily Anderson, and Kate Felton.
Read the Eau Claire Leader Telegram story.
RSVP for Virtual State Budget Review Meeting With Rep. Shankland and the NC Organizing Co-op, Monday, April 24th, 6pm.
Join members of Citizen Action of Wisconsin Northcentral Organizing Co-op and Rep. Katrina Shankland on Monday, April 24th at 6 pm to discuss the Gov. Tony Evers’ proposed State Budget and Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s budget priorities.
We are aiming for the program to last for one hour, and leaving some room at the end for questions or comments. We have gone with a virtual option to give more people in our region the ability to join.
Attend the final Joint finance Committee State Budget Public Hearing, Wednesday, April 26th.
Earth Week Open House in Eau Claire draws hundreds
The Citizen Action Northwest Organizing Co-op had a table at the Earth Week Open House in Eau Claire on April 20th, attended by hundreds of people who visited with dozens of organizations and vendors. Pictured from left to right: Citizen Action members Phil Swanhorst and Kristin Deprey, and Northwestern Co-op Organizer Jeremy Gragert.
Citizen Action Northwest Co-op Member Spotlight: Prof. Pam Guthman quoted in report by “The People’s CDC”
Prof. Pamela Guthman, DNP, RN, is a public health nurse. She teaches at the Wisconsin-Eau Claire (UWEC). She’s also a member of Citizen Action’s Northwest Co-Op. Her area of focus is rural Wisconsin, which faces unique challenges due to an aging population and limited public services.
Recently, Prof. Guthman lent her expertise to the “People’s CDC,” a national coalition of health experts and community leaders. Together, they advocate for equitable responses to the pandemic. They urge the CDC to create health expectations that reflect the risks of long COVID and protect the 4 in 10 Americans who remain vulnerable to serious disease.
In their recent report, “Too Many Deaths, Too Many Left Behind: A People’s External Review of the CDC,” the coalition finds that “the CDC has prioritized individual choice and short-term business interests over sharing accurate scientific evidence with the public and protecting population health.” The People’s CDC is a volunteer-led coalition. The group spoke with over 500 experts for the report and reviewed hundreds of articles and government documents. The project has received funding and support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, led by CEO Richard Besser, a former Acting Director of the CDC.
The report quotes Prof. Guthman, who identifies a need for more localized disease prevention efforts. She says “there needs to be more ‘shoulder to shoulder’ interaction within our communities with people representing public health… public health nurses on the ground who are known and trusted as the ‘county health nurse’ who deliver health care to individuals, families, and communities to build that trust.”
Prof. Guthman is just one of many incredible leaders who work with Citizen Action. If you know of a member who is doing cool things or has a great story to tell, or you’d like to be featured in The Weekend, reach out to your local organizer and get in touch!
What is “Complete Streets” & why is it so important for our communities?
Citizen Action North Side Rising teamed up with The WI Bike Federation, VIA-CDC and WISDOT for a Complete Street walk along National Ave. in Milwaukee last week. National Ave. (State HWY 59) is the perfect street to demonstrate the need for Complete Streets.
There is little chance of crossing the street unless you are at a stop light. Forget about “stopping at that great looking little shop you found”. Anyone who does not move quickly will be challenged to cross including those using canes, walkers, crutches, a walking boot or trying to cross with children. The bike lanes are not safe for bikes or skateboards.
Curbs dropped to accommodate wheelchairs allow for the pooling of water after every hard rain or thaw. Bumper to bumper parking along National limits the visibility for drivers and pedestrians.
After a mile, the constant traffic noise becomes noticeable and irritating. The stench of exhaust was choking. There’s little greenery along the route and the heat index, due to the asphalt and concrete, was draining. Everyone needed water.
The Complete Street model would allow the whole community to have safe access to the roadways. Safer travel, how ever you go, time to stop and chat. Time to stop at that new boutique.Less noise. Cleaner air. And the jobs to make it all happen.
Citizen Action in the News
Citizen Action’s North Side Rising Organizing Co-op, our African American lead chapter, held an event in front of We Energies to protest the powerful utilities discriminatory rate structure and its resistance to a green transition. The event was covered by the Neighborhood News Service, read the story here.
Citizen Action was part of a press conference at Milwaukee City Hall announcing a unanimous vote by the Common Council asking the Ascension hospital system to stop disinvesting in Milwaukee, and reopen a shuttered labor and delivery unit at St. Francis hospital. In the article, Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig is quoted on the predatory and profit seeking practices of the big hospital chain in coverage from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Read the story here.
In his regular weekly appearance (Wednesdays at 10 AM) Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig was on the Earl Ingram Show for the full hour to talk about the Fox Dominion lawsuit settlement, and to debate several right-wing callers. Listen to the full hour here. The Earl Ingram Show is broadcast weekday mornings statewide on the growing Civic Media Network.
LISTEN to “420: Wisconsin’s illusive freedom & lost $165 million a year” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast
Happy 420 Day (the annual day of action for Marijuana legalization). Unfortunately, in Wisconsin this freedom remains elusive and is costing the state $165 million in revenue. We recap Tax Day this Tuesday where Citizen Action released a new report from Americans for Tax Fairness which shows that when billionaires and corporations dodge taxes, American families pay the price in threats to critical social supports such as Medicare, Medicaid, and food assistance. Congress needs to pass President Biden’s wealth tax and reject the House GOP’s push for making permanent the Trump tax cut.
We welcome Joe Evica, the chief steward of the union at CUNA Mutual Group in Madison (OPEIU Local 39), to discuss a strike vote their members took on Wednesday and the media event they will have on Monday, April 24th at 6pm at the South Central Federation of Labor in Madison. If you live in Dane County, the union urges you to attend the event to show community support.
The Milwaukee Common Council unanimously voted this week to demand the giant hospital chain Ascension re-open the birthing and delivery unit at St Francis Hospital in Milwaukee and called on them to stop disinvesting from the City. We discuss a Green New Deal Resolution to be reintroduced in Congress and its critical importance to dealing with the climate crisis and creating family supporting union jobs for everyone across Wisconsin. Robert also attended an event with mayors and Governor Evers to tout the opportunity of federal money for climate change from Inflation Reduction Act, Infrastructure Law. We also received more news this week exposing the increasing Mississipification of Wisconsin by the GOP, as new data revealed the state is now in bottom 10 for public college funding. Finally, craven Republicans continue their ugly smear campaign against long time Racine criminal justice and police reformer John Tate II
Listen to the show.
Social media post of the week