AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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AFT Resolutions

FUNDING QUALITY PUBLIC SERVICES FOR STRONGER COMMUNITIES

WHEREAS, high-quality public services are the backbone of our communities and can improve the quality of Americans’ lives, build stronger communities, reduce the impact of inequality and bolster our economy; and

WHEREAS, it’s time to reclaim the promise of quality public services to fulfill our collective obligation to advance the common good; and

WHEREAS, such public services depend on investments and attention from communities in order to thrive; and

WHEREAS, the promise of quality public services that engender strong communities are under attack by those who demand and pursue austerity, polarization, privatization and deprofessionalization; and

WHEREAS, the aftermath of the Great Recession has limited the revenues available to fund these services at the same time it has increased the need for these services by placing more Americans into poverty; and

WHEREAS, collective bargaining has demonstrated success as a vehicle to help transform public institutions and improve the delivery of more cost-effective government services while providing an effective voice for workers on the job; and

WHEREAS, reclaiming the promise is about making sure that public employees are well-prepared and supported to provide their communities the high-quality services they deserve; and

WHEREAS, the efforts of corporations, self-interested economic elites and antigovernment activists (using vehicles such as the American Legislative Exchange Council and the State Policy Network) have further diminished public revenues by pursuing an agenda of austerity; and

WHEREAS, these twin factors of recession and austerity politics will weaken and undermine public services at the very same time it is essential that the promise that these services provide to our communities must be reclaimed; and

WHEREAS, there has been an economic recovery for the richest Americans, with scant improvement for the rest of the citizens, yet proposals to alter the tax code systematically favor the richest Americans; and

WHEREAS, at the state and local levels the richest Americans already pay less in taxes as a share of their income than the rest of the population; and

WHEREAS, states such as California and Minnesota that took steps to raise revenues during the Great Recession are experiencing more robust recoveries than states like Kansas, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which adopted austerity and tax cuts:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will support efforts to invest in public services in order to reclaim their promise as a tool for building a more just, fair and prosperous society; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will support efforts to create a system of state and local revenues that is adequate, stable and truly fair; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will support efforts to reclaim the promise of quality public services by ensuring that communities’ tax dollars are properly invested back into local communities and that the resources are used effectively and responsibly; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will support efforts to ensure that companies doing business online collect appropriate sales and use taxes and remit them to state and local government, as envisioned by the Streamlined State Sales Tax Initiative; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will support efforts to end corporate tax avoidance and the use of overseas tax shelters, including encouraging states to follow examples from Montana and Oregon and to apply combined reporting requirements, or what is known as “water’s edge” reporting, to known foreign tax shelters; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will support efforts to change the tax code in states where it is not currently permissible to allow progressive graduated tax rates (income tax to be applied at a higher rate to higher incomes); and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will oppose efforts to further dilute the estate tax system; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT and its affiliates will highlight the solution-driven approach to service-delivery issues that can be achieved through meaningful collective bargaining where joint problem-solving can produce positive outcomes for employers, employees and citizens alike; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will create programs to train activists on the important connection between tax policies and revenue streams and our ability to provide quality public services that support the common good and carry out the will of the people; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT and its affiliates will work to mobilize members and the broader community around commonsense tax and revenue policies that support the delivery of quality public services to build stronger communities, rebuild our infrastructure, create more jobs, reduce income inequality and help reclaim the promise of America.


(2014)