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AFSCME member who helps struggling families joins calls for wealthy to pay fair share in taxes

Photo credit: Getty.
By AFSCME Staff ·

Kanika Jones is a Head Start case worker who helps struggling families get access to critical public services. A city of Phoenix employee and member of AFSCME Local 2960, she goes to work every day to help her community.

Jones knows firsthand how tough it is for many working families – let alone those that live below the federal poverty line – to make ends meet. As a single mother of three, she could not provide for her family if not for free before and after school care.

That’s why Jones supports President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda and believes Congress should approve it in full. This includes a proposal to make wealthy individuals and corporations pay their fair share in taxes.

“We need Congress to pass tax fairness and ensure the ultra-wealthy and corporations pay their fair share,” she said at a virtual event Tuesday. “We need Congress to support the full Build Back Better agenda, and we can pay for it with an ultra-wealth tax that only affects just the very few who can afford it.”

The virtual event was a national mobilization call branded “Tax Billionaires Now” and was hosted by For America Action, Americans for Tax Fairness, as well as several labor, civil rights and social justice organizations. It featured Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.); Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.); Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.); political commentator and strategist Heather McGhee; NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson; MoveOn Exec. Dir. Rahna Epting and others.

President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda seeks to invest $3.5 trillion to benefit working families by creating jobs, including clean energy jobs; lowering health care and prescription drug costs; and cutting taxes on the middle class. The president’s plan also includes much-needed investments in early childhood education to make universal preschool a reality, lower child care costs for working families, raise the wages of child care providers and improve their working conditions.

The right way to pay for this is to make wealthy individuals and corporations pay their fair share in taxes, an approach that is enjoys extremely strong public support.

“As a public service worker, I don’t do this work to get rich. In fact, my own kids qualify for subsidized school lunches,” Jones also said. “Every day I go to work to help my community, and I pay my fair share in taxes. But so many of the wealthy and so many of the country’s most profitable corporations don’t.”

Every year, tens of millions of working families are required to pay federal income taxes and federal payroll taxes on their wages, and they willingly do so. AFSCME believes that we can invest in our communities and create many good-paying union jobs by making the wealthiest in our country do the same.

AFSCME members contribute to their communities through their public service, but also by paying their fair share in taxes. Many billionaires, however, get away with paying little or nothing, taking advantage of a tax loophole that allows them to avoid taxes on investment gains.

Billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, the two wealthiest people in the world, pay little to no federal income tax. Congress should tax wealth like work by raising the tax rate on income from investments to match the top tax rate on income from wages.

AFSCME also supports ending all tax breaks that encourage corporations to send U.S. jobs and profits to other countries, which would help America’s workers remain competitive. And we urge Congress to enhance IRS compliance and tax enforcement by hiring more tax auditors, modernizing data technology and raising audit rates on high-income individuals and firms.

Pass the Full Build Back Better Agenda

Join public service workers across the country encouraging their members of Congress to support working families and invest in our communities. Tell Congress: Pass the full Build Back Better agenda.

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