BURNSVILLE – If millionaires don’t get a tax cut, then no one gets a tax cut.
That’s 2nd District Congressman John Kline’s stance, and it was the target of workers protesting outside Kline’s Burnsville offices Sept. 12 during a national day of action for tax fairness sponsored by Working America, the AFL-CIO’s community affiliate.
“John Kline voted against extending the Bush-era tax cuts for the 98 percent of Americans in the middle and working classes because those tax breaks for the richest 2 percent would have ended. He would not agree to that,” said Chase Brandau, a Minnesota organizer for Working America.
To drive the message home, Working America member Mike Adair, one of Kline’s constituents, delivered a three-foot-long check from Kline payable to “Millionaires.” The amount payable – $160,000 – represents the average annual tax cut people making over $1 million will receive if Kline’s efforts to extend the Bush tax cuts are successful, according to the National Economic Council.
“We’re here to deliver this check to Rep. Kline as a symbol of what he’s given (to millionaires) at the expense of working people in his district,” Brandau said.
Working America members from the 2nd District said tax fairness and a balanced budget are among their top concerns in this election year.
Ending the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2 percent would raise nearly $1 trillion in revenues over 10 years, helping to balance the federal budget. Extending the tax cuts for 25 million working Americans, meanwhile, would ensure consumers have the spending money necessary to keep the fragile economic recovery on track.
“Money at the top stays at the top,” said Adair, a small business owner and graduate student who lives in Eagan. “You can’t create jobs when money stagnates at the top.”
Elizabeth Huffman of Cottage Grove said she usually tunes out politics, but got involved in the Working America protest because she is fed up with politicians who attack the middle class.
“I’m tired of seeing the top 2 percent making all the rules. I would have loved to have heard John Kline’s justification for all of this,” Huffman said. “Enough is enough. Seeing what’s happening in this country, it’s ridiculous.”
Working America members said Kline’s refusal to take a balanced approach to budget and tax policy not only protects millionaires at the expense of working families, but it also puts funding for Medicare and education – programs that protect the middle class – at risk.
“Money is being wasted in contributing it to millionaires and being denied to people in the middle and lower income groups, where it would actually do the most good,” said Paul Hoffinger of Eagan. “It’s part of the reason we’re experiencing a recession.”
Workers staged similar protests in more than 30 cities across the U.S.
Working America has organized more than 3 million members, workers without the benefit of a union on the job, to fight for a just economy. For more information on the organization, go to www.workingamerica.org.