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While Struggling Americans Await $1,200 Stimulus, Nation’s Wealthiest Reap Windfall

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The $2.3 trillion coronavirus stimulus package includes a temporary tax change for individuals who make at least $1 million a year, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. The Joint Committee’s analysis shows 43,000 taxpayers in the highest income bracket, making more than $1 million a year, could save a combined $70 billion in taxes. Almost all benefits from the tax break go to people making more than $100,000 a year.

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Millionaires and billionaires are set to reap more than 80 percent of the benefits because of the Trump tax law change, which alters what certain business owners are allowed to deduct from their taxes. (Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

While struggling individuals and families look forward to a $1,200 federal stimulus check, America’s wealthy have again made off with most of the cash.

The $2.3 trillion coronavirus stimulus package includes a temporary tax change for individuals who make at least $1 million a year, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. The Joint Committee’s analysis shows 43,000 taxpayers in the highest income bracket, making more than $1 million a year, could save a combined $70 billion in taxes. Almost all benefits from the tax break go to people making more than $100,000 a year.

The change in tax law reportedly suspends limits on how much money individuals can deduct against how much they owe based on lost income or business revenue, according to the committee.

Still, millionaires and billionaires are set to reap more than 80 percent of the benefits because of the Trump tax law change, which alters what certain business owners are allowed to deduct from their taxes.

It allows many of the country’s wealthiest to avoid nearly $82 billion of tax liability in 2020.

Nearly 82 percent of the benefits from the tax law change will go to people making $1 million or more annually in 2020, according to the Joint Committee.

Approximately 95 percent of those who benefit from the change make $200,000 or more.

The government began sending out $1,200 stimulus payments to individuals making less than $75,000, and $2,400 for couples earning no more than $150,000.

An additional $500 per child under 18 was provided to families while those high school and college students over the age of 17 were left entirely out.

In all, taxpayers will lose nearly $90 billion from the change to the law, which suspends a restriction introduced in President Trump’s 2017 tax bill.

The change allows owners of businesses known as pass-through entities to lower their taxes by deducting as much as they want against income unrelated to the company.

“It’s a scandal for Republicans to loot American taxpayers amid an economic and human tragedy,” Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse noted in a statement.

“This analysis shows that while Democrats fought for unemployment insurance and small business relief, a top priority of President Trump and his allies in Congress was another massive tax cut for the wealthy.”

Whitehouse and Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) sent a letter expressing their concerns to Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Russell Vought.

“We are specifically seeking information about whether any people in the Trump administration who were involved with developing the changes would also benefit from the provisions.”

Several published reports said both Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner stand to reap millions as a result of the stimulus package and the change in tax law.

So that Congress and the American public can better understand the provenance of these tax law changes, and assess whether any individuals within the Administration who stand to gain from these provisions were involved in their development, Whitehouse and Doggett have requested that Pence, and Vought provide the following information:

  • All communications from January 1, 2020, to the present between the White House, Department of Treasury, or the Office of Management and Budget and any nongovernment person or entity related to sections 2303 or 2304, or the policies modified by those sections.
  • All communications between the Department of Treasury and the White House, and between the Department of Treasury and the Office of Management and Budget, related to sections 2303 or 2304, or the policies modified by those sections, in the development of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
  • All studies, analyses, proposals, cost estimates, or other information considered by the White House, the Department of Treasury, or the Office of Management and Budget related to sections 2303 or 2304, or the policies modified by those sections, in the development of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

“It’s a scandal for Republicans to loot American taxpayers in the midst of an economic and human tragedy,” Whitehouse noted in his statement. “Congress should repeal this rotten, un-American giveaway and use the revenue to help workers battling through this crisis.”

Doggett added that the cost of the tax break is more than total new funding for all hospitals in America and more than the total provided to all state and local governments.

“Someone wrongly seized on this health emergency to reward ultrarich beneficiaries, likely including the Trump family, with a tax loophole not available to middle class families. This net operating loss loophole is a loser that should be repealed,” Doggett said.

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Fighting an Unjust System, The Bail Project Helps People Get Out of Jail and Reunites Families

In addition to posting bail at no cost to the person or their family, The Bail Project works to connect its clients to social services and community resources based on an individual’s identified needs, including substance use treatment, mental health support, stable housing and employment.

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Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.
Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.

Hundreds of thousands of individuals locked up in jails almost daily — many find it challenging to pay bail

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

As public support for criminal justice reform continues to build — and as the pandemic raises the stakes higher — advocates remain adamant that it’s more important than ever that the facts are straight, and everyone understands the bigger picture.

“The U.S. doesn’t have one ‘criminal justice system;’ instead, we have thousands of federal, state, local, and tribal systems,” Wendy Sawyer and Peter Wagner found in a study released by the nonprofit Prison Policy Initiative.

Together, these systems hold almost 2 million people in 1,566 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 2,850 local jails, 1,510 juvenile correctional facilities, 186 immigration detention facilities, and 82 Indian country jails, as well as in military prisons, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. territories,” the study authors said in a press release.

With hundreds of thousands of individuals locked up in jails almost daily, many find it challenging to pay bail.

Recognizing America’s ongoing mass incarceration problem and the difficulties families have in bailing out their loved ones, a new organization began in 2018 to offer some relief.

The Bail Project, a nationwide charitable fund for pretrial defendants, started with a vision of combating mass incarceration by disrupting the money bail system.

Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.

“We have a mission of doing exactly what we hope our criminal system would do: protect the presumption of innocence, reunite families, and challenge a system that we know can criminalize poverty,” Johnson stated.

“Our mission is to end cash bail and create a more just, equitable, and humane pretrial system,” she insisted.

Johnson said The Bronx Freedom Fund, at the time a new revolving bail fund that launched in New York, planted the seed for The Bail Project more than a decade ago.

“Because bail is returned at the end of a case, we can build a sustainable revolving fund where philanthropic dollars can be used several times per year, maximizing the impact of every contribution,” Johnson stated.

In addition to posting bail at no cost to the person or their family, The Bail Project works to connect its clients to social services and community resources based on an individual’s identified needs, including substance use treatment, mental health support, stable housing and employment.

Johnson noted that officials created cash bail to incentivize people to return to court.

Instead, she said, judges routinely set cash bail well beyond most people’s ability to afford it, resulting in thousands of legally innocent people incarcerated while they await court dates.

According to The Bail Project, Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by cash bail, and of all Black Americans in jail in the U.S., nearly half are from southern prisons.

“There is no way to do the work of advancing pretrial reform without addressing the harmful effects of cash bail in the South,” said Robin Steinberg, Founder, and CEO of The Bail Project.

“Cash bail fuels racial and economic disparities in our legal system, and we look forward to supporting the community in Greenville as we work to eliminate cash bail and put ourselves out of business.”

Since its launch, The Bail Project has stationed teams in more than 25 cities, posting bail for more than 18,000 people nationwide.

Johnson said the organization uses its national revolving bail fund, powered by individual donations, to pay bail.

The Bail Project has spent over $47 million on bail.

“When we post bail for a person, we post the full cash amount at court,” Johnson stated.

“Upon resolution of the case, the money returns to whoever posted. So, if I posted $5,000 to bail someone out, we then help the person get back to court and resolve the case,” she continued.

“The money then comes back to us, and we can use that money to help someone else. So, we recycle that.”

Johnson said eliminating cash bail and the need for bail funds remains the goal.

“It’s the just thing to do. It restores the presumption of innocence, and it restores families,” Johnson asserted.

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PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina

NNPA NEWSWIRE — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan will be joined by significant figures from the civil rights and environmental justice movements, including Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association and other participants from the original Warren County protests for the event.
The post PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Administrator to honor legacy of environmental justice and civil rights at event in Warren County, site of protests that launched the movement 40 years ago

WASHINGTON (September 22, 2022) – On Saturday, September 24, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan will travel to Warren County, North Carolina to deliver remarks on EPA’s environmental justice and civil rights priorities and the progress we’ve achieved since the first protest and march that launched the movement 40 years ago this week. Administrator Regan will make a significant announcement on President Biden’s commitment to elevate environmental justice and civil rights enforcement at EPA and across the federal government and ensure the work to support our most vulnerable communities continues for years to come.

Administrator Regan will be joined by significant figures from the civil rights and environmental justice movements, including participants from the original Warren County protests for the event.

Who:
EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan
Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01)
Environmental Justice and Civil Rights Leaders
Warren County residents and community leaders
Additional stakeholders

What: Remarks on EPA environmental justice and civil rights priorities and honoring the legacy of the environmental justice and civil rights movement
When: Saturday, September 24, 2022,
Doors Open: 11:30 AM ET
Program: 12:45 PM ET
;
Where: Warren County Courthouse
109 S Main Street
Warrenton, NC 27589
Livestream: A livestream of this event will be available at epa.gov/live.

The post PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane

Join Al McFarlane (Host), Brenda Lyle-Gray (Co-Host) and Special Guest Co-Host Diana Hawkins, Executive Director for …
The post September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Join Al McFarlane (Host), Brenda Lyle-Gray (Co-Host) and Special Guest Co-Host Diana Hawkins, Executive Director for …

The post September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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