Chuck Collins Offers a Solution for People Who Do Not Want to Keep Their Tax Rebate
Marketplace Radio 4/17/01
Anchor: Cheryl Glaser
CHERYL GLASER, anchor:
Mr. CHUCK COLLINS (Rejecttherebate.com): We were approached by hundreds of people saying, 'We want to make a protest. We want to sign an online petition and we'd like some or all of our rebate to go towards, in a poetic way, "blocking the implementation" of the most aggressive elements of the Bush tax plan.' We've just launched the site, but we have some 500 people who've pledged over $100,000 at this point.
GLASER: How does this all work? Suppose I donate my refund. What are you going to do with my money?
Mr. COLLINS: Well, there are dozens of organizations around the country that are doing education about tax policy and groups like Citizens for Tax Justice and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities here in Washington. There are groups that have, in some ways, tried to tell the truth about the irresponsible nature of this tax cut during a time of shrinking surpluses. And so the funds would go to groups like that.
GLASER: What is the end result you're trying to accomplish?
Mr. COLLINS: Well, I think we need to continue to have a public conversation about this tax cut. It was rushed through at a time of fairly rosy economic forecasts, which are already changing. And I think we will have to revisit the prudence of a--what's going to amount to be a $1.9 trillion tax cut over the next few years.
GLASER: Are you at all concerned that by giving people the option of divvying up their tax refund check between you and other charities and so on, that you might diminish the impact of your message?
Mr. COLLINS: When people sign our petition, they're signing on to a statement that's essentially saying, 'Look, I'm one of the majority of Americans who would have rather used the revenue that's in the tax cut, use that revenue to invest in education, paying down the debt, increasing health-care opportunities.' And, you know, people I think will be happy to get that money, a couple hundred dollars, but I think what people are saying is, 'Look, we're going to lose over the long term. This is not really in my interest to give away our surplus in the form of a tax cut that primarily a windfall for the very wealthy.'
GLASER: Well, one of the options that you give people who log on to your Web site is to donate their rebate back to the Treasury Department. What kind of message are you intending to send with that?
Mr. COLLINS: Well, I think that some people just feel that would be an important and symbolic statement. We actually called the Treasury Department and said, 'How could people give their tax rebate back,' and, you know, of course we were transferred to six or seven different offices and then they said, 'Well, geez, we hadn't really thought about that, but I think we should think about that, because the overwhelming number of people who thought this tax cut was a bad idea, we need to create an option and an opportunity for people to give the money back to the Treasury.'
GLASER: Chuck Collins is program director of United for a Fair Economy, which is sponsoring rejecttherebate.com.
Copyright 2001, Minnesota Public Radio
United for a Fair Economy, 37 Temple Place, 2nd Floor, Boston, MA 02111. Voice: 617/423-2148 Fax: 617/423-0191.