New Posts

Feb 8, 2016

Top 400 Taxpayers See Tax Rates Rise, But There’s More to the Story

As Americans were gathering party supplies to greet the New Year, the Internal Revenue Service released their annual report of cumulative tax data reported on the 400 tax r...

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Feb 4, 2016

Chlorine Bleach Plants Needlessly Endanger 63 Million Americans

Chlorine bleach plants across the U.S. put millions of Americans in danger of a chlorine gas release, a substance so toxic it has been used as a chemical weapon. Greenpeace’s new repo...

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Jan 25, 2016

U.S. Industrial Facilities Reported Fewer Toxic Releases in 2014

The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data for 2014 is now available. The good news: total toxic releases by reporting facilities decreased by nearly six percent from 2013 levels. Howe...

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Jan 22, 2016

Methane Causes Climate Change. Here's How the President Plans to Cut Emissions by 40-45 Percent.

  UPDATE (Jan. 22, 2016): Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its proposed rule to reduce methane emissions...

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State Supported Colleges and University See Massive Tuition Increases

States continue to feel the impact of low revenue and a lack of support from the federal government. As a result, many state-supported colleges and universities have seen dramatic budget cuts in recent years. In an effort to minimize the damage, colleges and universities are approving skyrocketing tuitions. An informal scan of recent headlines (see below) shows some of the steep increases, with most in the double digits extending up to 28%.

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HEAD START AND BLOCK GRANTS

The Bush administration and House leadership are proposing to block grant the Head Start program in eight states. This means states can use federal funds for their own early-childhood education programs and would no longer have to abide by national standards.

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HOUSE PASSES LABOR, HHS AND EDUCATION BILL

The Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), Education appropriation bill passed by the House reveals a lack of commitment to education, providing everyone the tools to succeed, keeping low-income families warm, and preparing for bio-terrorism. Talk is cheap without the resources to make it real.

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From the Tax Policy Center

Here's the latest from the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center:

TAX EVASION, IRS PRIORITIES, AND THE EITC Leonard E. Burman Testimony to United States House of Representatives

THE AMT: PROJECTIONS AND PROBLEMS Leonard E. Burman, William G. Gale and Jeff Rohaly TAX NOTES, July 7, 2003

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WHAT DO BLOCK GRANTS AND TAX CUTS HAVE IN COMMON?

The Bush Budget for FY 2004 proposes major funding changes, including block grants, for a number of low-income programs like Medicaid and the State Child Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), Section 8 Housing Vouchers, Unemployment Insurance, Head Start, Child Welfare and Job Training. The House has begun considering block granting Head Start and Job Training programs. This means that states would get a block of money, sometimes guaranteed for a fixed number of years, to administer programs with less federal oversight. Low-income families and children will lose any entitlement to a minimum federally set safety net that expands when more people are in need. While the safety net is slowing being eroded, block grants would speed up the process. Also, under TANF reauthorization, we expect the "superwaiver" to be revived again – this provision basically unties federal regulations, allowing state governors to waive federal rules in programs including food stamps, public housing, homelessness programs, childcare, job training and adult education.

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APPROPRIATIONS UPDATE: Let the Cuts Begin

Despite a delay in dividing up the overall discretionary spending amount (as determined in the Congressional budget resolution) among the thirteen spending categories (the 302[b] allocations), Congress is quickly moving forward with the FY 2004 appropriations bills. So far, the House Appropriations Committee has approved seven bills; the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved two. Congress intends to pass all the bills by the start of the August recess so they can be finalized before the new fiscal year starts in October. The bills cover appropriations for FY 2004, which runs from October 1, 2003 through September 31, 2004. Once each chamber passes all the bills, the House and Senate must work to reconcile their individual versions. Assuming that agreement can be reached, they are then sent to the President for his signature.

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Congress Passes Irresponsible Budget Plan Providing for Nearly $1.3 Trillion Tax Cut

The Budget Resolution has now been passed by the House (216-211) and by the Senate (51-50, with Vice President Dick Cheney casting the tie-breaking vote). This budget is, quite possibly, one of the worst examples of the failure of our elected representatives to meet their obligation to determine tax and spending outlines that address the priorities of the American people.

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Dynamic Disappointment

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released the final version of its March 7 report, entitled “An Analysis of the President’s Budgetary Proposals for Fiscal Year 2004.” The revised version of this report was eagerly awaited for its special section on the “Potential Macroeconomic Effects of the President’s Budgetary Proposals.” A macroeconomic – or “dynamic” – evaluation has never been offered by CBO, and both proponents and critics of the controversial scoring method were anxious to learn what the CBO report would reveal. For many, it seems that the long-awaited results were disappointing in their ambiguity.

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House Passes Budget Resolution of Huge Tax Cuts, Program Cuts; Senate Votes Weds.

The House passed its FY 2004 budget resolution last week, officially kicking off the Congressional budget debates for the coming fiscal year. The Senate voted to preserve all but $100 billion of the President’s tax cut, but won’t complete work on the budget resolution until Wednesday, March 26. Though the budget resolutions of each chamber reflect much of the President’s own budget proposals, and especially his $726 billion tax cut, neither resolution passed without a great deal of effort among Republican leaders to ensure that Congressional members voted together.

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Federal, State, Local Budget Cuts Compounded by Shrinking Private Funds

EPI, Campaign for America’s Future and State Groups Release Reports Detailing Damage Caused by Bush Tax Cuts

Check for the report on the problems your state will face if the Bush tax cut goes through – and find out how to work to stop it.

A person can’t open a newspaper these days without catching sight of at least one article reporting on recent slashes in some local or state budget or in one of the many threads of the country’s social safety net. From coast to coast, over the course of just the last two weeks, cuts have been announced: Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski (D) announced that several million dollars will be cut this year and next from the state’s Medicaid program, which had been heralded for its success in providing mental and dental benefits, in addition to the traditional hospital care, to Oregon’s poor, elderly, and disabled residents; newly-elected Maryland Governor Bob Erhlich (R) has proposed a $25 million cut in state-funding for child care for low-income parents – this is on top of a 70% cut in funds for Maryland’s Child Care Resource Centers Network, which provides families of all income levels with guidance and information on available local child care providers.

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Resources & Research

Living in the Shadow of Danger: Poverty, Race, and Unequal Chemical Facility Hazards

People of color and people living in poverty, especially poor children of color, are significantly more likely...

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A Tale of Two Retirements: One for CEOs and One for the Rest of Us

The 100 largest CEO retirement funds are worth a combined $4.9 billion, equal to the entire retirement account savings of 41 percent of American fam...

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more resources