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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Beyond the Baseline: 10 Year Deficits Likely to Reach $5.9 Trillion

The Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) August 2003 Budget and Economic Update shows a baseline projection of a $401 billion deficit for 2003, and a $480 billion deficit for 2004. The 10-year baseline projections show a $1.4 trillion deficit over the next ten years; however, as the report notes, the baseline is not intended to be a good predictor of actual budgetary outcomes. A better predictor of budget deficits under current policy would put the deficit for 2004 at $496 billion and the 10-year deficit at nearly $6 trillion. Download full report (.pdf)

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The Bush Tax Cuts are No Worse than the Reagan Tax Cuts?

There seems to be a common misperception that while things are pretty bad, the country survived the Reagan tax cuts, and the Bush tax cuts aren’t that much worse. All that progressives need to do is continue working against any more tax cuts and advocating for adequate appropriations funding, and we'll get through it. This complacency is misplaced and dangerous. The tax cuts, the fiscal condition of the federal government and the states, and the politics are very different. Conservatives have been working on a long-term agenda of shrinking government by reducing revenue. Movement conservative Grover Norquist wants to cut spending on federal programs in half within the next generation; in his words: "kill the taxes and you kill the government."

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Children Bear Brunt of Federal Tax Cuts

In the absence of federal assistance, childcare, education, and children’s health programs are being slashed across the country despite their popularity and effectiveness.

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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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Economy and Jobs Watch

Two recent economic reports show the depth of economic mismanagement by the Bush administration. First, it was reported last week that the unemployment rate has risen to 6.1 percent in yet another indication of the poor state of the labor market. Second, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) announced that it expects the current year’s budget deficit will be around $400 billion.

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The House Takes Up Permanent Repeal of the Estate Tax

After hijacking the child tax credit with add-ons that inflated the cost to $82 billion, House GOP leaders continue this month in their headlong rush to drain resources from government by cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy. The campaign has just moved from the outrageous to the egregious.

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Budget ZigZag

The “Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation of 2003” bill (HR 2) that President Bush signed into law with much fanfare on May 28 is chock full of tax cuts that “sunset” – that is, they revert back to pre-2003 law. When combined with the previous Bush tax cut, “The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001,” which is also full of tax cuts that slowly phase in and then end altogether, the result is like something out of Kafka. However, the difficulty for the IRS of creating forms and instructions to reflect yearly changes and taxpayer confusion are not the worst consequences of these bills.

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Tax Priorities

The 2003 tax cut package contained a number of goodies for higher income individuals -- a dividend tax cut, a capital gains tax cut, acceleration of previous reductions in upper income tax rates. However, several reports have shown that millions of taxpayers, primarily middle income and below, as well as millions of children, have been left behind.

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Garbage In, Garbage Out: Two Bad Tax Cut Bills Won't Make One Good One

Conference negotiations to reconcile the tax cuts bills passed by the House and Senate are expected to begin tomorrow, and Congress hopes to pass a tax cut bill by the Memorial Day recess, although this may prove impossible.

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Cheaper at Half the Price

According to the results of a joint NPR-Kaiser Family Foundation-Kennedy School of Government poll released last month -- and confirmed by almost every other poll on Americans' attitudes toward tax cuts - we are all in favor of tax breaks, until we understand what we have to give up in return.

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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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