Lobbying Report–May 2012

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NEA Lobbying Report—May 2012

Illinois NEA Directors attending: Terrie Tudor, Jim Grimes, Eric Brown, Alex Wallace, Joyce Bailey, Tom Tully, Vickie Mahrt and NEA Student Director Matt Hiser.  Also at NEA in Washington were IEA officers Pres. Cinda Klickna, Vice Pres. Kathi Griffin, and Sec-Treas. Al Llorens.

Members of Congress were on break and the NEA Directors and officers visited with congressional staff members in the following Representatives’ offices:  Robert Dold (R-10), Peter Roskam (R-6), John Shimkus (R-19), Daniel Lipinski (D-3), Aaron Schock (R-18), Bobby Schilling (R-17), Randy Hultgren (R-14), Danny Davis (D-7), and Tim Johnson (R-15).  NEA materials were also delivered to the remaining Representatives’ offices and Senators Durbin’s and Kirk’s offices.

NEA lobbying efforts focused on 1) closing the corporate tax loopholes, 2) supporting the Buffet Rule, and 3) the maintaining the current student loan rate.

            Closing Corporate Tax Loopholes:  Research shows that a significant portion of profitable Fortune 500 companies pay nothing in taxes and this translates into cuts to the critical services, such as education.  Corporations need to pay their fair share. Many are currently experiencing record profits, and yet are taxed at historically low rates.

Closing seven federal tax loopholes would result in nearly $1.5 trillion dollars in additional revenue over the next ten years.

  • Every impoverished child under age five in America could get high-quality pre-school. Right now, less than 20% are served.
  • The government could boost the maximum award for the Pell Grant to help low-income students cover college.
  • Every school in America could get $518,000 for Title I supports to help students from low-income families.
  • The federal government could finally meet its obligation to provide 40 percent of the cost of educating students with disabilities. That would save states money so they could get resources such as classroom aides, pre-school programs, and special transportation services.

Paying their Fair Share (The Buffet Rule): Those most able to do so must pay their fair share toward the deficit reduction.  The Buffet Rule is a principle that everyone should pay their fair share in taxes. No household earning more than $1 million should pay a smaller share than middle-class families. For families making less than $250,000, taxes should not go up.

  • The wealthiest Americans are paying nearly the lowest tax rate in 50 years.
  • Some of the wealthiest are paying just half of the federal income tax that top income earners paid in 1960.
  • The top 1% of households takes home 17% of the national income.
  • The top 0.1% makes more than 7% of the national income.
  • Top 400 earners paid on average 18.2%, lower than many earning much less.
  • Most income from capital gains and dividends is taxed at 15%.

Student Loan Rate:  The current fixed interest rate of 3.4% on federal subsidized student loans is scheduled to double on July 1st.  Due to rising college costs, students are taking out larger loans. On average, students who take out loans graduate owing $25,000.

  • More than 8 million postsecondary students receive financial aid.
  • 70% of financial aid comes from the federal government.
  • Americans now owe more debt on their student loans than they do on their credit cards.
  • Total outstanding student loan debt is expected to exceed $1 trillion this year.
  • In the next decade, college enrollment will increase by 14%.
  • 80% of new students over the next decade will be ethnic minorities; and 20% will come from poverty.
  • Keeping the interest rate low would save the average student over a thousand dollars.

NEA is emphasizing at-home lobbying by members.

Members are urged to visit www.NEA.EducationVotes.org and www.NEAfund.org and sign up for the 2012 campaign.

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