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<imgsrc="http://www.cse.org/images/informed/1723_1.gif"><br>Alabama CSE activists, wearing CSE’s “America Needs a Tax Cut” T-shirts and lapel stickers, rally for the Bush tax plan outside the Birmingham post office on tax day 2001.
The simultaneous occurrence of the April congressional recess and tax day provided CSE with a superb opportunity to seize the momentum surrounding the budget discussions and tax votes. Employing our unique assets of a standing grassroots army and our winning message of “America Needs a Tax Cut,” CSE took to the streets promoting the Bush tax cut plan nationwide. CSE activities proved an overwhelming success, highlights of which included: </p>
<p>Hosting and/or participating in 76 events from New Hampshire to Washington state.
Garnering more than 37 hits of earned media, including television, radio, and print (29 on tax day alone).
Distributing 1,000 T-shirts, 10,000 tax “fair cards,” 5,000 lapel stickers, and 8,500 action-item flyers at venues across the country.
E-mailing more than 25,000 activists to gear up attendance at and support for congressional town hall meetings and CSE’s tax day activities.
<p>CSE focused on encouraging our activists to attend and participate in town hall meetings held by members of Congress. CSE activists set out to bolster support for tax cuts among grassroots citizens and urge members to support key elements of the Bush tax cut plan—namely elimination of the death tax, which is one of the most egregious parts of the IRS code. Already, the Senate has approved $1.2 trillion worth of tax cuts and the House has passed the total $1.6 trillion. With the budget conference scheduled to meet shortly after recess, it was essential for CSE activists to urge members to pass as large a tax cut package as possible. Now, the major debate will center on which components of the plan—marriage penalty relief, across-the-board rate cuts, or death tax elimination—will be on the “chopping block.” CSE is committed to ensuring that all essential components of Bush’s plan will not be jeopardized in the budget conference. We don’t, for instance, want to tinker with things like rate reductions in the death tax—we want to kill it once and for all.</p>
<p>Iowa— Iowa CSE concentrated their attention on two key members of Congress: Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Congressman Leonard Boswell, an important “Blue Dog” Democrat who voted for death tax elimination (Blue Dogs are fiscal conservatives). Through grassroots activism, Iowa CSE intended to solidify both of these members’ support for total elimination of the death tax. Iowa CSE Director Jason Gross questioned the Senator at a town hall meeting on April 18th in LeMars, Iowa. While Grassley remarked that he would support either phasing out the death tax or raising the limits, he emphasized that he is adamantly supporting eliminating the death tax because, in his words, “It’s simply not fair to tax thrift.” However, he added it would depend on what size tax package came out of conference. If it’s only $1.2 or $1.4 trillion, then they may have to raise the limits (and/or lower the rates) in favor of the marginal rate reductions or other parts of the tax package. In total, CSE attended five townhalls sponsored by Senator Grassley.</p>
<p>Congressman Boswell has been a supporter of death tax elimination in the past. After voting for the Dunn/Tanner bill last year and the veto override, Boswell also voted for H.R. 8, the Death Tax Elimination Act, this year. This legislation has been passed with strong bipartisan support each time it has been offered, and Boswell is a critical vote. However, CSE was very disappointed in his remarks over the April recess. In the morning and evening of April 9th, CSE staffers attended town hall meetings featuring the congressman. Each time when asked about his stance on repeal of the death tax, Congressman Boswell replied that he wanted to raise the limits by a million or two but did not want to repeal it completely because it would be too expensive. As follow-up from the evening meeting, Iowa CSE staff presented Boswell with 15 letters from CSE members in his district urging his support of the whole Bush tax cut plan including full repeal of the death tax.</p>
<p>Texas— Texas CSE held three, non-tax day events with key elected officials regarding the Bush tax cut plan. The first event with Majority Leader Dick Armey and Congressman Sam Johnson was held on April 10th in Dallas at a local family-owned restaurant. Over 250 TX CSE activists gathered at Cathy’s Wok restaurant in North Dallas to rally in support of the president’s $1.6 trillion tax cut plan. The Dallas Morning News and Fox Channel 4 covered the event.</p>
House Majority Leader Dick Armey and U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson address 250+ TX CSE activists on the Bush tax plan. A key issue discussed was elimination of the federal death tax.
Catherine Liu, the event hostess, kicked off the event with a personal story about her immigration to the United States from China and starting her own small business. Despite her hard work and success, her legacy is in jeopardy due to the death tax. Mrs. Liu’s touching story was recounted many times over by other attendees.</p>
<p>There were many other personal stories from activists. Newlywed Joe Shepard reiterated the unfairness of the marriage penalty while citing his own recent experience at the accountant’s office. Joe Hernandez, chairman of the Dallas County Republican National Hispanic Assembly, highlighted the benefits for all taxpayers, especially Latinos, of across-the-board marginal tax rate cuts.</p>
<p>The standing-room only crowd cheered loudest when Armey and Johnson mentioned scrapping the tax code. Most of the follow-up questions after the formal program focused on the specifics of the death tax elimination act passed in the House and the status of flat tax legislation. Despite their unhappiness with the fact that the death tax will be slowly phased out over 11 years, activists found solace in Congressman Johnson’s comment that “working together with CSE, we’ll prevail.”</p>
<p>The second major event was a press conference with Texas Governor Rick Perry in his conference room. The governor expressed his support for the Bush tax cut plan and specifically pointed out that there should be no ceiling above which taxpayers should pay the death tax. Previously not on record for his stance, Governor Perry now supports total elimination of the death tax. He was followed by State Representative Kent Grusendorf who is the House sponsor of the state resolution supporting the Bush tax cut plan spearheaded by CSE and Americans for Tax Reform. He began his remarks by holding up one of CSE’s “America Needs a Tax Cut” lapel stickers and announcing that he has 75 cosponsors for the resolution. There also were three CSE activists who spoke eloquently on the key components of the Bush plan.</p>
<p>The third event was an awards ceremony and fundraising dinner featuring U.S. Representative Ron Paul in Lake Jackson. Nearly 150 CSE activists turned out to talk about the tax bill and other issues important to Congressman Paul.</p>
<p>Alabama— Alabama CSE attended two of Senator Jeff Sessions’ town hall meetings at the end of the April recess. Senator Sessions talked about the Bush tax cut plan and specifically the death tax. CSE staff thanked the senator for his vote on the budget resolution and for his leadership in support of death tax elimination.</p>
<p>North Carolina— On Wednesday, April 11th, President Bush held a rally at Minges Coliseum in Greenville at East Carolina University. North Carolina CSE and 30 activists capitalized on this event to show our support for the president’s tax cut plan by waving more than 20 homemade signs, handing out dozens of “America Needs a Tax Cut” T-shirts, and distributing more than 1,000 tax cut fair cards. There were 10,000 people inside the event and nearly 3,500 who could not get inside the venue.</p>
NC CSE activists outside a rally featuring President George W. Bush at East Carolina University in Greenville.<br></center>
<p>“America Needs a Tax Cut.” That message resonated nationwide on April 16th as hundreds of CSE activists took to the streets to protest the increasing size of the federal government and its growing burden on the taxpayers. At CSE, the day known as “tax day” for most Americans becomes action day! Scores of Americans dread tax day because, whether they realize it or not, they currently suffer the highest peacetime rate of taxation in history. This pill is particularly bitter this year as economists predict huge federal surpluses without any scheduled return to the taxpayers who created this surplus. The federal government and its burgeoning bureaucracy have forgotten one key fact—the money that is paid in taxes is not the federal government’s money—it’s the people’s money. And now we want some of it back! Through town meetings, post office rallies, and press conferences CSE educated and mobilized average everyday Americans toward one goal—tax relief!</p>
<p>Congressional Press Conferences</p>
<p>Several congressional representatives who agree that American taxpayers have suffered enough and deserve tax relief joined CSE activists in their battle. By holding press conferences or tax meetings in their local districts, these members let their constituents know that they are going to fight for the Bush tax cut plan by enacting across-the-board tax cuts, repealing the death tax, and reducing the marriage penalty. In Orlando, Fla., freshman Congressman Ric Keller participated in a press conference to support tax cuts with 25 local CSE activists. In Houston, Texas, Congressman Kevin Brady spoke at a press conference CSE hosted at the downtown post office. At the event, Brady acknowledged that CSE had been the leader in pushing for the president’s tax cut initiative. The event was covered by the local ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox affiliate television stations and by the Houston Chronicle.</p>
<p>CSE President Paul Beckner also headlined a press conference on the East Front Lawn of the U.S. Capitol with Congressman Tom Davis (R-Va.) and representatives from Americans for Tax Reform, 60 Plus, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Federation of Independent Business. CSE was asked to participate because we represent such a unique niche in Washington: we are the only true grassroots organization that targets real citizens outside the Beltway and can speak from first-hand experience about the opinions, desires, and frustrations of American taxpayers.</p>
<p>Rallying Taxpayers for Change </p>
<p>CSE and our 280,000 volunteer activists are fighting for change and a return of some of the surplus back to where it belongs—the taxpayers of this country. Tax day was the perfect day to spring into action with our standing grassroots army. CSE and our activists organized more than 40 rallies at post offices nationwide. Each rally was unique and they are too numerous to catalog here but they all had a common theme: “America Needs a Tax Cut!” Thousands of people visiting the post offices honked or gave words in appreciation as our staff and activists carried hand-made signs and handed out literature, T-shirts, and lapel stickers.</p>
CSE used tax day to sign up activists
in key states across the country.<br></center>
Significantly, a majority of these rallies were organized and run by our volunteer activists. Unlike members of other groups, CSE’s activists are not just participants or on-lookers who show up at events we sponsor—they are the catalysts of such events, planning, manning, and executing them to maximum effect. By way of these rallies, our activists—many times joined by elected officials—sent out the message loud and clear that America needs a tax cut.</p>
<p>Our activists understand what the Bush budget plan with its key components of marginal rate relief, elimination of the death tax, marriage penalty reduction, and reasonable spending restraints would mean for them, and they want it to pass. We’ll continue over the next several weeks to fight for these important measures, rallying our members along the way and calling them to action at critical junctures during the debate.