ACORN PROTESTS PROPOSED TAX CUTS - Kristen Friend-Weaver04/15/03
The Florida Consumer Action Network in cooperation with the Association of Communities for Reform Now (ACORN) held a press conference today to inform the public about what they see as the potential threat of President BushÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s proposed tax cuts. The two groups joined several other public advocacy groups nationwide in a symbolic tax day protest of the PresidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s plan. Representatives from both FCAN and ACORN joined WMNF in our studios after the conference, and WMNFÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Kristen Friend-Weaver files this reportÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Throughout what little debate there has been on President BushÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s current tax plan, its proponents have consistently described the cuts as an evenhanded stimulus package. However, many notable figures, including several Nobel Prize winning economists and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, have come out in opposition to the plan, citing its potential harm to the economy for at least the next decade. Both FCAN and ACORN agree on the danger of enacting BushÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s plan. Representatives from both groups say that these new cuts are unfair and irresponsible, and that they will harm both the states and the national economy through soaring deficits, lost jobs and program cuts. Bill Newton, the director of FCAN, says that the danger of enacting such extensive cuts should be common senseÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Louise Peterson, speaking on behalf of ACORN, agrees, citing the potential effects of the proposed tax cuts on the poor and those in need of health careÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
President Bush and his advisors claim that the Ã¢â‚¬Å“average AmericanÃ¢â‚¬? will benefit the most from his plan, saying that the average household will save at least $1100 in the next year. However, a study published by Citizens for Tax Justice indicates that by 2010 when all the changes have been enacted, the wealthiest 1% of all Americans will enjoy 52% of the total tax savings. Newton argues that part of the reason for this disparity in opinions lies in the fact that the PresidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s definition of Ã¢â‚¬Å“averageÃ¢â‚¬? is highly misleadingÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
While many opponents of the Bush plan cite the danger of ballooning national deficits, FCAN points out that the damage to state economies will be equally devastating. According to FCAN, cuts in funding for states at the federal level will lead to cuts in state programs that many Floridians use, such as the Medially Needy Program. And, according to a study published at economy.com, federal cuts may also cause the loss of approximately 25,000 Florida jobs. Phil Compton of the Florida Consumer Action Network believes that Floridians will feel the cost of federal cuts in a very local wayÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Members of both FCAN and ACORN believe that ultimately the issue behind the tax cuts is one of social responsibility. Although he admits that most people would like to have more money in their pockets, Bill Newton believes that everyone has a responsibility to take care of those in need. And Newton says that the current federal income tax system is still the most efficient way to do soÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Public advocacy groups are afraid that the PresidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s plan will be pushed through Congress without sufficient debate. FCAN and ACORN urge citizens to join the discussion they feel that President Bush is trying to avoid through letter writing and direct action. For WMNF news, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m Kristen Friend-Weaver.