Resources & Media

National Effort to Promote Tax Fairness Reaches Tampa

Press Contact: 
Adam Muhlendorf
Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications
(202) 265-3000; (202) 641-6216 (c)
Group will hold a media conference at 10:00 am Thursday to discuss efforts targeting wealthiest members of Congress opposed to tax fairness
Release Date: 
Wednesday, August 29, 2012


TAMPA – Like in the biblical story of Daniel in the lions’ den, a group of young, progressive American Jews will be at the Republican Convention tomorrow to deliver a moral message of tax fairness opposed by Republicans and their allies gathered in Florida.

The group, all members of the “If I were a Rich Man Tour,” have been traveling across the country urging Congress to stop voting to line their own pockets while demanding more of the nation’s most vulnerable to reduce the deficit, balance the budget and protect funding for critical programs and services. On Thursday, they will hold a media conference at 10:00 a.m. at Ybor Centennial Park (1800 East 8th Avenue) to discuss their efforts to date. Please note, media is invited to join the “If I Were a Rich Man Tour” participants and coverage is welcome. Video, photo and interview opportunities will be available.

Inspired by their Jewish values and organized by Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice, this group of nine volunteers is traveling across the country with a moral message about tax fairness to urge Congress to pass legislation where all Americans pay their fair share.

“Millionaires in Congress trying to force working people to pay more than their share in taxes is like a school yard bully stealing lunch money from a kid,” said Alan van Capelle, CEO of Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice. “American Jews have never stood on the sidelines when we have seen injustice and we aren’t going to start now.”

The “If I Were a Rich Man Tour,” which began on August 22 and will continue through September 7, is organizing Jewish Americans and others in eight states to call on Congress and the administration to allow the Bush era tax cuts to expire on those making more than $250,000 annually. The tour participants, who will make appearances at both the Republican and Democratic conventions, are also meeting with Jewish community leaders, interfaith groups, union organizations and other likeminded individuals and groups along their route to support tax fairness for all Americans.

Among the legislators whom tour participants are targeting are U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.); U.S. Representative John Barrow (D-Ga.); U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.); U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.); U.S. Representative Jim Costa (D-Calif.); U.S. Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.); U.S. Representative Kenny Marchant (R-Texas); U.S. Representative Michael McCaul (R-Texas); U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.); U.S. Representative Gary Miller (R-Calif.); and U.S. Representative Jim Renacci (R-Ohio).

Each of the targeted members were among those in Congress who opposed efforts this summer to allow the Bush era tax cuts to expire for those earning more than $250,000 a year. In the Senate, the targeted members opposed S.3412, the Middle Class Tax Act of 2012. In the House, the targeted members supported final passage of H.R. 8, the Pathway to Job Creation through a Simpler, Fairer Tax Code of 2012. Additionally, the targeted House members voted against a Democratic party-sponsored effort to replace H.R. 8 with the Senate-passed legislation, S. 3412.

Participating in the “If I Were a Rich Man Tour” are team leader Ellie Axe from Boston; Helen Bennett from Boston; Aaron Brickman from Oakland; Rebecca Green from Los Angeles; Tera Greene from Los Angeles; Yitz Jordan from Los Angeles; Rabbi Margie Klein from Boston; and Sonya Kuznetsov from Minneapolis.

“Our country is faced with enormous challenges and it is frustrating to see so many of our elected leaders voting against the best interest of their constituents and the long-term economic viability of our country,” said Ellie Axe, the “If I Were a Rich Man Tour” team leader. “It’s time that Americans of all backgrounds stand up and shout ‘enough is enough!’ I am proud to be a part of this team and look forward to working with them to shine a spotlight across the country on the hypocrisy of the nation’s richest congressmen.”

The “If I Were a Rich Man Tour” is the first campaign of Bend the Arc’s sister organization in Washington, Bend the Arc Jewish Action, which works directly with policymakers and elected officials to hold them accountable to the needs of the most vulnerable to create justice and opportunity for all.

Additionally this summer, Bend the Arc Jewish Action unveiled a petition, which has been signed by hundreds of Americans, urging Congress to ask those making over $250,000 per year to pay their fair share. Interested parties can add their voice to this effort at www.bendthearc.us/jewish-action.

“Both our Jewish tradition and our American experience make abundantly clear that in order to have the kind of strong and just society we want to see, everyone needs to pay their fair share,” said Hadar Susskind, director of Bend the Arc Jewish Action and Bend the Arc Jewish Action PAC. “Bend the Arc Jewish Action is carrying that message to Congress and we are thrilled that the ‘If I Were a Rich Man Tour’ is carrying it around America.”

WHO:
Volunteers from the “If I Were a Rich Man Tour,” a group of young, progressive American Jews who are traveling across the country spreading a moral message of tax fairness that would balance the budget and reduce the deficit.

WHAT:
The “If I Were a Rich Man Tour,” which began on August 22 and will continue through September 7, is organizing Jewish Americans and others in eight states to call on Congress and the administration to allow the Bush era tax cuts to expire on those making more than $250,000 annually. The tour participants, who will make appearances at both the Republican and Democratic conventions, are also meeting with Jewish community leaders, interfaith groups, union organizations and other likeminded individuals and groups along their route to support tax fairness for all Americans. 

WHERE:
Ybor Centennial Park
1800 East 8th Avenue 

WHEN:
Thursday, August 30
10:00 a.m.

Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice is the nation’s leading progressive Jewish voice empowering Jewish Americans to be advocates for the nation’s most vulnerable. Bend the Arc mobilizes Jewish Americans beyond religious and institutional boundaries to create justice and opportunity for all, through bold leadership development, innovative civic engagement, and robust progressive political advocacy.