The Coalition on Women and Taxes has called for a more responsible tax cut that would both stimulate the economy and increase tax fairness for women. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Patty Murray (D-WA) joined Nancy Duff Campbell of the National Women’s Law Center, Linda Chavez-Thompson of the AFL-CIO, and Heidi Hartmann of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, to oppose President Bush’s $1.6 trillion tax plan that unfairly taxes women, who are disproportionately represented in the two lowest income brackets, and may endanger vitally needed social programs including education, health care, Social Security, and Medicare.
The Senate on April 3 voted 51-50 against a Democratic proposal to reduce Bush’s tax cut by $158 billion over the next 10 years. Democrats hoped to use that money to bolster the $153 billion already reserved in the President’s budget for prescription drugs under Medicare. Vice President Dick Cheney cast the tie-breaking vote and signaled a win for the President’s tax plan.
Sixty percent of those receiving Social Security and Medicare benefits are women. The Bush tax plan drains away money that could be used for these programs. Women are then more negatively effected by the tax proposal than men.
Women-headed families are also at risk under the Bush plan. Senator Boxer compared the Bush tax plan to a perverted Robin Hood “because President Bush’s budget plan takes away funds aimed at helping single, working mothers raise their families and gives it to the rich.”
The Feminist Majority has also raised opposition to the proposed tax cuts that unduly favor the rich and burden the average working woman. The Bush plan collapses the tax schedule from five to four brackets, combining the four highest income brackets into two and dividing the lowest brackets into two. This movement towards a flat tax benefits wealthy taxpayers and hurts low and moderate taxpayers. One third of the tax cut benefit would go to the wealthiest 1% of taxpayers; the top 20% will receive 71% of the tax cut benefit. A millionaire would receive a 5.7% tax cut, while a working woman earning $27,000 would receive only a 1.1% cut. The median income for women is only $26,324.
Moreover, the tax cut penalizes low- and middle-income single people. For example, a $27,000 family income will get a $600 break from their marginal tax cut. A single person with this income receives only a $300 marginal tax cut. This unmarried penalty has a detrimental impact on single women and single mothers.