Claiming Our Democracy

Greenlining strongly believes that government at all levels must be adequately funded to perform vital functions, from educating our children to protecting consumers from abuse. To accomplish this, we need a tax structure that not only produces adequate revenue, but does so fairly. The primary tax burden should fall on individuals and corporations who can most afford to pay.

On the federal level, much attention has focused on ending the Bush era tax cuts for income over $250,000. [BM1] While this is a proposal we support, it does not go far enough. Our 2011 and 2012 reports, “Corporate America Untaxed” and “Tech Untaxed,” shined a light on the use of offshore tax shelters by wealthy corporations to hide profits in tax havens like the Cayman Islands and avoid paying their fair share.

This is a problem that still needs urgent attention, as do other inequities in the federal tax system. For example, we believe it is unfair that income from capital gains is taxed at a maximum 15 percent rate, while income from wages and salaries is often taxed at far higher rates. Because of this, those who make their income from moving money around often pay a lower rate than teachers, firefighters, nurses or factory workers.

In California, Greenlining supported Proposition 30 on the November 2012 ballot to stabilize funding for schools and other priorities. But, urgently needed as it was, Prop. 30 was a short-term fix in a state that still has long-term, structural budget issues. In the coming year we will be working with other groups to develop and support long-term solutions to give California a tax system that fairly and adequately funds essential public services.

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