With the Bush Tax Cuts set to at the expire of this month, more than 150 New Jerseyans took part in a national Day of Action at 4 sessions throughout the state this past Saturday, Dec. 1. Participants included activists, community organizers, union members, people of faith, volunteers fresh off the Obama campaign and those who simply care about the future our country.
These activist and informational get-togethers took place in Montclair, Pleasantville, Toms River and Willingboro. There, folks learned about the “fiscal cliff” and how it will affect programs the middle-class and working families care about. Specifically, they discussed how important it is for Congress to let the Bush Tax Cuts lapse on the wealthiest 2 percent. They spoke of ways to mobilize during this lame duck Congressional session and came up with citizen actions to make sure our representatives listen to the will of the people – who voted for fairness at the polls last month.
"This election was all about fairness, and letting the Bush Tax Cuts expire on the top 2 percent is a strong way to help bring about an America where everyone pays their fair share and has equal responsibility to our communities,” said Jackie Cornell-Bechelli, Campaign Director for The Action and former New Jersey Obama for America State Director. “That's why we saw such a positive response this weekend and that's why we will continue to push Congress to do the right thing.”
“This weekend, New Jersey showed that we believe in tax fairness and an economy that works for 100 percent of Americans, not just the richest 2 percent,” said Ann Vardeman, an organizer with NJ Citizen Action and Americans for Tax Fairness. “Our elected officials need to listen to the voices of their constituents and put the needs of the middle-class and working families first.”
If Congress lets the Bush Tax Cuts expire on top income earners, 97 percent of small businesses and 98 percent of Americans would continue receiving the exact same tax relief. Moreover, economists have proven tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are the least effective way to grow the economy.
“Congress shouldn’t hold the middle-class captive just to make sure the Scrooge McDucks of the world can continue swimming around in ever-deepening vaults of cash,” said Joshua Henne, Democratic strategist and spokesman for New Jersey Protect Your Care. “If we hand hedge-fund managers more money to simply add to their savings accounts and stock portfolios, we won’t have the funds needed to rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges, upgrade our energy grid and invest in education, healthcare and innovation.”
Republican Congress Members Jon Runyan, Frank LoBiondo, Chris Smith and Leonard Lance would be wise to keep their finger on the pulse in their district, rather than taking marching orders from right-wing think tanks and Grover Norquist.
“Ending the Bush Tax Cuts for the richest 2 percent isn’t just a Beltway issue,” said James Gee, veteran political operative. “Real people here in New Jersey are taking interest, because this affects all our lives.”
Throughout the weekend, New Jerseyans throughout the state also took to social media to rally around the cause. Many used the twitter hashtag #TheActionNJ to say why they support letting the Bush Tax Cuts expire on the top 2 percent. Tweets came pouring in from college students to senior citizens and everyone in between.
The twitterverse saw both Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver and Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy holding up placards saying “End the Bush Tax Cuts For The Wealthy.”
New Jersey Representatives Rob Andrews and Rush Holt also chimed in this weekend on Twitter:
• @RepAndrews: “Let the #BushTaxCuts expire so the wealthiest 2 percent pay their fair share & America can get its deficit under control #TheActionNJ #TheAction”
•@RushHolt: “A budget is about moral choices. The right thing to do: invest in jobs/schools/R&D - not Bush tax cuts for top 2 percent #TheActionNJ #TheAction”