LCCR Letter to Senate on S. Con. Res. 23 (Tax Cuts)

Media 03.18.03

Recipient: U.S. Senate

Oppose S. Con. Res. 23
Support Amendments to Lower the Bush Tax Cut

March 18, 2003

Dear Senator:

On behalf of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse civil and human rights coalition, we write to urge your opposition to the irresponsible and inequitable budget plan (S. Con. Res. 23) reported by the Senate Budget Committee. S. Con. Res. 23, closely resembles the President’s tax cut proposal, which would divert $2.7 trillion dollars over the next decade from health care, Social Security, education, homeland defense and other national priorities, thus making it next to impossible to fund current government services, let alone new emergencies.

S. Con. Res. 23 would ensure deficits of at least $1.6 trillion over the next ten years, thereby saddling future generations with mountains of debt and seriously jeopardizing our nation’s ability to meet critical domestic and foreign responsibilities. Further, S. Con. Res. 23 offers no aid to state and local governments, at a time when states are experiencing severe financial deficits. Since almost all states are required by law to balance their budget, the current fiscal conditions are forcing states throughout the country to make difficult decisions about whether to raise taxes or cut essential services. Yet S. Con. Res. 23 ? like the President’s economic plan ? provides no fiscal relief for the states, deprives them of at least $5 billion in additional revenue, and would block grant Medicaid and cut many other programs.

Social Security – If nothing is done to shore up Social Security, it will be able to pay only about three-fourths of promised benefits in about 40 years. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, for $8.7 trillion, which is the 75-year cost of making the 2001 tax cuts permanent – not counting any large new tax cuts – we could erase the entire 75-year, $3.7 trillion shortfall in Social Security more than two times over, ensuring guaranteed, lifetime, inflation-adjusted benefits for the baby boomers and future generations.

Education – The President’s No Child Left Behind Act has not yet been fully funded. For FY 2004, the President’s budget falls $6 billion short of the $18.5 billion called for by the act. For example, new mandates – such as the testing mandate – are still unfunded by the federal government, leaving the states to cut other programs to pick up the cost of the unfunded mandate.

Homeland Security/First Responders – The Bush budget not only cuts money for police, it also falls $10 million short in funding homeland security needs. Domestic security is being compromised as firefighters and police are being laid off around the nation.

Unemployment – Over the past two years, the economy has lost more than 2 million private sector jobs. Despite this, the S. Con. Res. 23 does not provide for extensions of unemployment insurance for all affected workers.

LCCR urges you to oppose S. Con. Res. 23, and support any effort to reduce the size of the President’s proposed tax cuts. Sen. Breaux’s bipartisan amendment to limit the deficit impact of any economic growth component to $350 billion is an important first step in that direction.

We also believe aid to the states is especially critical in order for them to meet their obligations to Medicare, Medicaid, education, and homeland security. LCCR supports a bipartisan sense of the Senate resolution to be offered by Sens. Rockefeller and Collins that would address the plight of financially beleaguered state and local governments.

In sum, the tax cuts proposed in S. Con. Res. 23 represent an irresponsible and inequitable blueprint for our nation’s economy. The cuts proposed in S. Con. Res. 23, and in the President’s tax cut package, will result in lasting adverse affects on our national priorities, for generations to come. LCCR urges you to reject S. Con. Res. 23, and support any amendments to lower the President’s tax cut package. If you have any questions, please contact Nancy Zirkin, LCCR Deputy Director at (202) 263-2880. Thank you for your consideration.