National War Tax Resistance
Coordinating Committee

=========================
NEW ADDRESS! (April 1999)
PO Box 6512, Ithaca, NY 14851

(800) 269-7464. Email: nwtrcc@nwtrcc.org

More than a Paycheck:News from the War Tax Resistance Movement


April 1998. IN THIS ISSUE:

  • WTRs Respond to Threat Against Iraq
  • Judge Rules on Tax Case; Another Prepares for Court
  • Counseling Notes (Property Exempt From Levy, Prepaid Phone Cards, Child Tax Credits, Early Withdrawal Penalties, Credit Card Tax Payments, Annuity Collection)
  • Legislative Updates (PTF Meets with Department of Treasury, A Kinder, Gentler IRS??)
  • International (1998 International Conference in New Delhi)
  • Resources (Chiapas Background, Stand Up to the IRS, Peace & Justice Concerts)
  • War Tax Resistance Ideas & Actions (Medical Savings Accounts, etc., Blanket Those Publications!, Sustaining Resistance, An Act of Conscience, WTRs, Summonses, and W-4's)
  • WTRs & (Any War's Name Here)
  • Local Group Reports (Greenfield, MA, New York, NY, N. Manchester, IN)
  • Perspective: Poem,by Jane Livingston of Veazie, Maine
  • About More Than a Paycheck and NWTRCC

  • WTRs Respond to Threat Against Iraq


    Kathy Kelly and Zahra Ali, age 7 mos., suffering from nutritional marasmus. Al Mansur Hospital, Baghdad, February 15, 1998. Photo: Chuck Quilty.
    As U.S. threats against Iraq mounted in early 1998, war tax resisters mobilized to respond. We used this opportunity to put out a Call to Noncooperation with the War on Iraq:

    "As conscientious objectors to war, we commit ourselves to refuse to pay some or all of the federal taxes that fund the U.S. war on Iraq. Over the last seven years individual conscientious objectors have gone to jail for protesting the Gulf War, gone to Iraq in violation of a U.S. travel ban, carried humanitarian supplies into Iraq in violation of the sanctions, and watched with immense sadness as hundreds of thousand of Iraqi citizens died because U.S. bombs destroyed their civilian infrastructure and U.S. initiated sanctions resulted in starvation and disease.

    We call on all those who oppose this renewed war on Iraq to refuse to pay for it, and instead to redirect their federal tax money to heal the wounds of war. April 15 is before us. We ask people of conscience to refuse to pay the federal excise tax on their telephone bills, and/or to refuse to pay some or all of their federal income taxes, as a clear signal to our government that this new war is wrong."

    We encouraged groups and individuals to sign on to the Call (or variations thereof) for use in local organizing and media work, and collected the signatures for use in national media work.

    In addition, we encouraged war tax resisters to use this time to publicly redirect refused tax money for material aid for Iraq. We suggested two material aid projects that were led by war tax resisters: 1) Voices in the Wilderness, 1460 West Carmen Ave., Chicago, IL, 60640, 773/784-8065, kkelly@igc.apc.org. War tax resister Kathy Kelly works with VITW and was in Iraq with a delegation (all of whom were apparently WTRs) in February. 2) Jubilee Partners, PO Box 68, Comer, GA, 30629, 706/783-5131, jubileep@igc.apc.org. War tax resister Don Mosley of JP led a delegation to Iraq in early March and took money to purchase food and medicines.

    At press time it was unclear how the political situation would develop, but the threat of military action, although postponed, was not over. Please continue to use the Call to Noncooperation wherever it seems appropriate in local organizing work and let us know in the national office if you and/or your local group wish to sign on. Also, the need for material aid will continue to be great for a long time to come, so we still urge WTRs and alternative funds to consider grants of refused tax money to these groups. Please note on the check if the contribution is refused tax money. Both groups will keep track of the amount so that we can publicize it.

    We at NWTRCC were impressed, as we contacted people from the network list all over the country, to learn how many WTRs were at the center of local organizing efforts in regards to Iraq. Karen Marysdaughter was delighted to open the daily newspaper in Bangor, Maine the day after the Columbus, Ohio "Town Meeting" on Iraq to find a front page AP photo of one of our former WTR contacts at the microphone! Also, Karen was interviewed on Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now about the Call to Noncooperation and received over 100 phone calls in the next few days from people looking for more information.



    Judge Rules on Tax Case
    ANOTHER PREPARES FOR COURT

    Military taxation challenged in court. Pictured from left to right: Gordon and Edith Browne, Rosa Packard, Priscilla Adams. Purchase Quarterly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, February 1, 1998.
    In late breaking news at press time we learned, sadly, that the Tax Court in Priscilla Adam's case, which was based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), rejected all of her arguments. Her lawyers plan to ask for reconsideration, at least on the penalty issue, within 30 days. Should the Court refuse to reconsider, they will proceed with an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. NWTRCC has not had an opportunity yet to review the judge's decision; we'll share more information as it becomes available.

    Knowing that the struggle for the legal right to refuse to pay for war is likely to be a long one, with disappointments along the way, Rosa Covington Packard of New York Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends (Quakers) is the next conscientious objector to go Tax Court to ask for relief from certain penalties and excess interest that punish free exercise of religion. She, like Priscilla, is being represented by attorneys Peter Goldberger and Lior Feldman of Pennsylvania and is basing her case on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) passed by Congress in 1993.

    Rosa has, since 1982, put her income taxes in a Quaker escrow account. Every year, the government has seized the tax they claim she owes from her checking account, along with added interest and penalties, which have now added up to over $8,000.

    Rosa responds to the inevitable question of why she would do something so financially costly that apparently has no practical result. She replies, "To obey God's law: 'Thou shalt not kill' and to heed Christ's advice: 'Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you' means I cannot voluntarily pay for war or preparations for war. The worldly penalty of $573 each year - or whatever worldly penalty might be imposed - is of no consequence in comparison."

    Why would Rosa want to do something that is against the law? "Well, I don't," she says. "I believe the government currently misapplies and misinterprets the free exercise clause of the First Amendment. Therefore I wish to give my government an opportunity to reconsider. I appreciated Supreme Court Justice Sandra O'Connor's dissent in City of Boerne v. Flores (Supreme Court case on RFRA). She said the U.S. v Smith (Supreme Court case that led to passage of RFRA) was wrongly decided and should be re-examined."

    After prayer and study, Rosa decided to bring her case to the federal courts. Her lawyers advise her that there is now a way open for the courts to consider the issue of conscientious objection to paying taxes for war under RFRA. Rosa's Quaker meeting, Purchase Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, has appointed a clearness committee to help her discern whether her decision is made in the Spirit of Christ, as opposed to out of her own will, according to Quaker practice and discipline. They have approved a minute in support of her tax witness and have agreed to receive contributions to help defray legal expenses. The Meeting says, in part, "Rosa Packard speaks for many Friends in her effort to win Friends, and others troubled in conscience by participation in war, the right to choose to not support and promote war through their taxes." New York Yearly Meeting has also approved a minute of support for Rosa.

    Rosa serves on the boards of the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund and the National Interreligious Service Board for Conscientious Objectors; she is on the Peace Concerns Committee and the Witness Coordinating Committee of New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends; she represents her Yearly Meeting on the Friends Peace Team Project Coordinating Council whose mission is to encourage Friends' participation in opportunities for training and service in domestic and international communities where violence is occurring; and she is on the board of Project Hearts and Minds, a non-governmental organization that sends delegations of veterans and medical personnel on reconciliation and medical relief trips to countries where the U.S. has been at war, currently to Vietnam.

    Rosa has written up an excellent packet of information about her tax court case and her war tax witness. To contact her: Rosa Packard, 208 W. Old Mill Rd., Greenwich, CT, 06831, (203)661-8946, email: rpackard@igc.apc.org. Purchase Monthly Meeting's address is Purchase and Lake Sts., Purchase, NY, 10577



    COUNSELING NOTES
    PROPERTY EXEMPT FROM LEVY
    Not only have the standard deduction and personal exemption amounts for 1998 increased (see February '98 More Than a Paycheck), so have the amounts for property exempt from levy. The value of fuel, provisions, furniture, and other household personal effects, including livestock, that is exempt from levy is $2,570 (up from $2,500 in 1997). The value of books and tools necessary for a person's trade, business, or profession exempt from levy is $1,280 (up from $1,250 in 1997).

    PREPAID PHONE CARDS
    Information on tax code changes in 1997 make reference to prepaid phone tax cards and the federal telephone excise tax. NWTRCC hasn't yet been able to decipher the legalese, nor to have information confirmed by the IRS, but it appears, and is safe to assume, that the federal excise tax is also prepaid when you use a debit card like this. So if you want to refuse the tax, debit cards are not likely to be the way to go.

    CHILD TAX CREDITS
    The new child tax credit is $400 for each eligible dependent who is under the age of 17 at the end of 1998. (It gradually phases out starting at an adjusted gross income of $75,000.) The credit has been included in the 1998 W-4 worksheet to allow employees who are eligible to have their wage withholding decreased to reflect the expected tax savings.

    EARLY WITHDRAWAL PENALTIES
    It has been NWTRCC's understanding in reading the Tax Code that if the IRS seizes money from a tax-deferred fund, such as an IRA, the taxpayer is subject to the 10% early withdrawal penalty. However, one of our supporters sent us information on a Tax Court ruling that stated the early withdrawal penalty did not apply because the withdrawal was not voluntary.

    The judge in Larotonda v. Commissioner, 89 T.C. 287 concluded, "Admittedly, this is a close question; however, taking the underlying legislative intent as our guide, we believe that this penalty should not be imposed herein. . . It is clear that Congress intended to prevent the voluntary, tax-motivated withdrawal of funds by taxpayers prior to retirement age. No such voluntary withdrawal occurred here. To the contrary, the funds were withdrawn pursuant to respondent's levy, an involuntary act, without any active participation by petitioner. In our opinion, to impose the penalty herein would be like throwing salt into a wound."

    CREDIT CARD TAX PAYMENTS
    One of the new tax law changes that go into effect in 1998 is a provision that allows taxpayers, as of May 4, 1998, to make federal income tax payments by credit card. Although the option of paying taxes by credit card may not mean much to WTRs, NWTRCC is concerned about the possibility of the IRS collecting taxes, refused taxes that is, via the credit line on a credit card. A WTR in Washington state was warned by a lawyer that the IRS could do that, and we can't see any reason in the Tax Code why they couldn't. For those of you who have credit cards and IRS bills, you might want to maintain a small credit line, just in case.

    ANNUITY LEVIED
    Cynthia Foster of Jamaica Plain, MA, in response to the "Success Story" printed in the February, 1998 More Than a Paycheck, asked NWTRCC to point out that the payments she receives from the annuity she set up with the American Friends Service Committee have been levied by the IRS. In other words, don't think that annuity payments are safe from seizure.



    LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
    PTF MEETS WITH DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY
    A delegation of religious representatives, Congressional aides, and staff members of the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund (NCPTF) met on January 15th with Michael Thorton, Deputy Tax Legislative Counsel at the Treasury Department. The purpose of their meeting: to persuade the Treasury Department and the IRS to support the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill.

    Up till now, Treasury officials have not supported the bill because they feared added administrative costs and the appearance of allowing taxpayers to earmark their tax money. However, their first objection was met when the federal Joint Committee on Taxation certified that the RFPTF bill would most likely bring increased revenues into the Treasury rather than add costs. And recent revisions of the bill have done away with the basis for their second objection by giving the Treasury Department the power to designate where the monies would go, as long as they are not used for military purposes.

    In response to the passionate and persuasive arguments of the Campaign lobbyists, Mr. Thorton agreed to review the bill and consult with the IRS about working through their objections. That means now is an ideal time to contact President Clinton to encourage the Administration and the Treasury to support the Peace Tax Fund.
             President Bill Clinton
             The White House
             Washington, DC 20500
             White House comment line: (202) 456-1414
             White House fax: (202) 456-2461
             Email: president@whitehouse.gov

    For more information, contact the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund, 2121 Decatur Place NW, Washington, DC, 20008-1923, (202)483-3751, toll-free: (888)732-2382, email: peacetaxfund@igc.org, website: www.nonviolence.org/peacetax.



    A Kinder, Gentler IRS??

    Sign used by IRS to announce house auction
    Does the IRS have an increased concern for taxpayer rights? An internal audit of the IRS in the wake of September 1997 Senate Finance Committee hearings concluded that the IRS "created an environment driven by statistical accomplishments that places taxpayer rights and a fair employee evaluation system at risk." The audit report reviewed the use of enforcement statistics in collection divisions at the national and regional levels and in many local districts.

    A few WTRs have told NWTRCC that the IRS recently backed off on their cases. They don't know why, but wondered if the Congressional hearings had an effect. We only know of one situation where an IRS agent came right out and said the hearings affected her decision.

    That was in the case of Keith McHenry, founder of Food Not Bombs. Keith has never filed an income tax return, in fact he doesn't even have a social security number. He hadn't heard from the IRS in years until recently when he was asked to come in regarding his taxes. The agent told him that "because of the new hearings" he wouldn't have to pay or file. Although she wasn't interested in hearing Keith's political views, she said, "Because you're a tax protester we're going to let you just not pay!"

    It seems highly unlikely this will be the response of IRS agents in general to war tax resistance. But the IRS may back off on negative publicity for awhile, which may create a bit more space for WTRs. Meanwhile, one concrete effect is that the IRS established interim procedures requiring the Collection Division Chief for a district to approve all proposed property seizures. The District Director must now approve all seizures involving a taxpayer's residence, the contents of the residence, or perishable goods. The interim procedures will remain in effect while the IRS continues a nationwide review of its use of enforcement tools.



    International WTR
    1998 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE IN NEW DELHI
    The 7th International WTR and Peace Tax Campaigns Conference is being hosted by the Gandhi-in-Action group in New Delhi, India, December 29, 1998 to January 1, 1999. The Coordinating Committee will decide at our May meeting in Kansas who to send as our representative to the Conference. The New Delhi hosts are looking for input on topics to be discussed - if you have suggestions, please let the NWTRCC office know.

    Resources
    CHIAPAS BACKGROUND
    For more information on Chiapas (see WTRs &. . . article elsewhere in this issue), send for a report written by WTR Brian Willson, The Slippery Slope: U.S. Military Moves Into Mexico, available for $7.50 by mail from: Brian Willson, 33 Portola Ave., Monterey, CA, 93940, (408)644-0111. Available online at http://www.nonviolence.org/slipperyslope

    STAND UP TO THE IRS
    The new 4th edition of this extremely helpful book, written by attorney Frederick Daily and published by Nolo Press, is now available for $24.95. Call (800)992-6656 or check their web site at: www.nolo.com.

    PEACE & JUSTICE CONCERTS
    Judy Cumbee, singer, songwriter and autoharpist, offers concerts which include stories, and presentations which include music, on peace and justice themes. A long-time war tax resister, Judy is a wife, mother of two, and grandmother of three. She lives in an intentional community in rural Alabama where she also works as voluntary co-chair for the inmate founded Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty.

    Judy is pleased to send a copy of her tapes to anyone interested in scheduling her. To reach her, write: Judy Cumbee, 11076 County Rd. 267, Lanett, AL, 36863, (334)499-2380, or email: vineyfig@mindspring.com.



    War Tax Resistance Ideas & Actions
    MEDICAL SAVINGS ACCOUNTS, ETC.
    Some NWTRCC supporters have written in about Medical Savings Accounts (MSA's) and workplace flexible-spending accounts as ways to reduce tax liability. Please note that we haven't researched the ideas below thoroughly, so if you want to explore these options, look into them carefully, and let us know what you find out! Apparently, MSA's are available to the self-employed and to people working for companies with 50 or fewer workers that decide to offer them. They are purchased from insurance companies and consist of a high-deductible insurance policy and a tax-deferred savings account. An MSA does not have to be used within any particular time period and can build up tax-deferred money. It can only be withdrawn for medical expenses, but these include things not normally covered by insurance, such as dental work and eyeglasses.

    Insurance companies can charge excessive fees for such accounts, so it's important to shop around. The IRS has also limited the total number of such accounts that can be offered. It appears that MSA's usually work best for affluent folks who can afford to shoulder some additional risk for out-of-pocket medical costs and get maximum mileage from tax-deferred savings. They are also best for people with no major health problems.

    Nevertheless, WTRs get an extra bonus from anything which can lessen our "legal" tax liability, so if you are going to have medical expenses anyway and are not opposed to carrying medical insurance, it is worth looking into an MSA (if you are in a qualifying group) to see if you can find one you can afford. Because of the high deductible, the insurance is supposed to be much cheaper than a conventional policy. The money you put into the MSA and the interest it earns are not taxed at the time of deposit or earnings, and the withdrawals are tax-free if for medical purposes, so this can be a good way to lower your taxes while taking care of a basic need for yourself and your family. If you are self-employed, the insurance premiums will be deductible. (Robert Randall got the above info from an article in the Charleston, SC, Post & Courier, which supposedly also appeared in the Wall Street Journal.)

    There are also, apparently, workplace "flexible-spending accounts" available to some people, for such things as medical expenses and child care. A benefit for war tax resisters is that the money is taken out of a person's paycheck before taxes are computed, which lowers ones tax bill. Also, because regular payroll deductions are not counted when the bookkeeping department calculates the amount to send to the IRS for a wage levy, it should be safe from garnishment. The drawbacks are that you apparently need to have health insurance before you can avail yourself of the option for medical expenses, and the money must be used for specific purposes and within a certain time period or it is lost.

    The big question: can the IRS can seize money directly from such accounts? We're not sure. The medical savings account option sounds like an IRA, which means the IRS could seize it. However, if, in order to get money from an account, an individual who pays into it must file a claim for it and meet certain criteria to get it, then it would appear the WTR's right to it exists only when such a claim is in effect. At that point, if the IRS knew a claim was happening, they could seize that specific payment. Does anyone have information about this?

    BLANKET THOSE PUBLICATIONS!
    NWTRCC area contact Don Schrader, who steadily writes letters to the editor of local papers and has an amazing number of them printed, broadened his focus last summer and sent an article about war tax resistance to 39 different progressive publications around the country. As of January, 1998, five publications had already printed all or part of the piece: the Gospel Herald, a Mennonite publication; Radical Grace, published by the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, NM; U.S. Farm News, a small midwest radical paper; the Weather Vane, of Eastern Mennonite University; and the Mennonite Weekly Review. R.F.D., a country gay journal, is planning to publish it this spring, and a few other periodicals are still considering it.

    Don sent us the rejection letters he received, which made it clear that in many cases his article was carefully read. Although they didn't print Don's piece this time around, regular letters to such publications might convince them to publish something in the future. So follow Don's good example and start writing! For tips from an expert: Don Schrader, 1810 Silver SE, Apt. B, Albuquerque, NM, 87106, (505)843-6595.

    SUSTAINING RESISTANCE
    Ginny S. of Pioneer Valley WTR in western Massachusetts would like to examine how we, as a war tax resistance community, can be more supportive of those who are having difficulty sustaining their resistance. She has spoken with NWTRCC about either doing a survey or a Listening Project with people currently having difficulty and those who have stopped doing war tax resistance. Anyone who is interested in working on such a project, please contact NWTRCC.

    AN ACT OF CONSCIENCE
    The grassroots tour of the documentary film, An Act of Conscience, which tells the story of the IRS's seizure of war tax resisters Randy Kehler and Betsy Corner's home in western Massachusetts, is now gaining critical momentum. Turning Tide Productions has orchestrated eight film showings thus far, with five more confirmed in April and 118 pending contacts!

    Since the fall, Turning Tide has been developing publicity materials that organizers can use to interest theaters and colleges in holding a public showing of the film. They have also been fulfilling over 200 orders for the home video version of An Act of Conscience and working to raise additional funds to hopefully do a much wider and comprehensive distribution and promotional campaign.

    There are now two ways activists can use the film:

    1) They can rent or purchase An Act of Conscience on video and show it themselves at meetings, conferences, libraries, churches, etc. for $75/rental or $149/purchase (includes public performance rights).

    2) For a higher impact public screening of An Act of Conscience, they can consider organizing a theatrical or college premiere of the film with a speaking presentation by the Director, Robbie Leppzer. A preliminary organizer's packet (which includes three press review booklets and additional promotional information) is available for $10. These outreach materials will help grassroots organizers develop contacts at theaters and schools.

    For more information, contact Turning Tide Productions, PO Box 864, Wendell, MA 01379, phone: (800)557-6414, fax: (978)544-7989, email: act@turningtide.com, web: www.turningtide.com.

    WTRs, SUMMONSES, AND W-4'S
    Ed Hedemann, long-time war tax resister from Brooklyn, NY received an IRS summons from the Collections Division to appear with documents about his finances. He decided to appear, and did so with only one important document -- the War Resisters League "pie chart" that shows where our income taxes really go. He left after just five minutes, leaving an unhappy agent who said he was forwarding information on Ed to the IRS's legal department.

    Subsequently Ed received a second summons, this time from the legal counsel of the IRS. He planned to appear again, with the same information, although perhaps an added statement about Iraq. It remains to be seen if the IRS take the next step of a court-ordered summons.

    A WTR from Indiana sent thanks to NWTRCC for our advice on dealing with tax stuff on his new job. He said, "Ironically, the treasurer of the organization is a tax resister (living under taxable income) and was also a draft resister of my generation. Suspecting that I was a war tax resister, he broached the subject himself in terms of the W-4. What a surprise to end up in such an easy situation!"



    WTRs & (Any War's Name Here)

    Carol Coney of Atlanta, GA, puts her money where her mouth is.
    In addition to the involvement of war tax resisters in the Iraq situation, conscientious objectors to military taxes are key players in areas of conflict all over the globe.

    NWTRCC area contact Carol Coney of Atlanta, GA headed for Chiapas, Mexico in early February with medical supplies, purchased in part with refused tax money from war tax resisters. Carol says, "To me, covert war-making is just as important as overt war-making, such as the continuing crisis in Chiapas where paramilitary groups equipped with armaments produced by U.S. manufacturers and traceable to U.S. military sources have been repressing Mayan Indians for many months. Unfortunately, some of the architects of this low-intensity warfare have been associated with the School of the Americas in Ft. Benning, GA."

    War tax resister Brian Willson leaves for Mexico in early April leading a Veterans for Peace delegation. Their purpose is to gather evidence of, and publicly expose, the U.S. role in supporting the systematic campaign against the indigenous people of Mexico. Brian has asked WTRs for contributions of refused tax money to support the delegation. "It is appropriate that people of conscience from the U.S. respond as the Mexican government receives aid and advice, paid for by U.S. dollars. We must insist on the continued presence of objective and compassionate eyes and ears to determine how and in what manner this aid and advice is being used."

    There is likely still time to financially support the VfP delegation. Send checks earmarked for the VfP delegation to: Jesús or Ted, Global Exchange, 2017 Mission St., Rm 303, San Francisco, CA, 94110, (415)255-7296 x230, email: chuy@globalexchange.org.

    Cliff Kindy is the contact person for the War Tax Resisters Penalty Fund in North Manchester, IN. He spent five months last year in the Palestinian town of Hebron with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), as a nonviolent witness in an extremely tense situation. In the U.S. he and his family of four live well below the taxable level on an annual income of $6,000. "Simplifying our lifestyle helps us move toward eliminating the need to be defended by the strongest military in the world. If we wish to go to places in our country or elsewhere and talk about nonviolent solutions to conflict with integrity, we can only do that if we've taken the first step in our own lives." Cliff and other CPT team members have recently received death threats due to their work in Hebron.

    Titus and Linda Gehman Peachey, of Lancaster, PA, over the past 15 years, have had repeated contacts with villagers in northern Laos who struggle with the ongoing violence of cluster bombs in their fields and gardens. "When families tell us about mothers and fathers who have died while hoeing in their fields, we grieve that our taxes pay for war. When we visit children in the hospital whose bodies have been torn by flying shrapnel, we grieve that our taxes pay for new weapons. Withholding taxes for war has become a discipline of the heart, reminding us that in a world of domination and violence, peace will not come without struggle or risk." Titus is facing a levy on his wages at the Mennonite Central Committee, which has refused to cooperate with the IRS.

    In addition to these examples, war tax resisters are taking material aid to Sarajevo, violating the embargo of Cuba, living in the Sudan and the former Soviet Union, participating in Peace Brigade accompaniments, etc. We don't know which comes first, the decision to see firsthand how U.S. foreign policy affects other countries, or the decision to refuse to pay for war. But it certainly appears that, with any given conflict situation, war tax resisters are likely to be there.



    Local Group Reports

    Washington, DC--Tax Day 1997.
    GREENFIELD, MA
    Members of the Pioneer Valley WTR group are preparing an exhibit on war tax resistance. Their materials come primarily from NWTRCC, Peacemakers, Conscience & Military Tax Campaign, and personal

    collections. They expect the exhibit will have several sections: personal histories of war tax resisters, a timeline of wtr, a world map that will pinpoint locations with short statements on what wtr activities have taken place there, the why's and how-to's of wtr and, most important, lots of graphics and photos.

    Currently the material is being scanned onto a computer. The next step will be to format it into poster size panels that can be printed and made available to groups that would like to arrange for its display. The exhibit format will be modeled after the War Resisters League's alternative to the Enola Gay exhibit that was distributed on the 50th memorial of WWII.

    If anyone is available to consult on design aspects of the exhibit or to print it pro bono, it would be a great help. Please contact, PVWTR at (413)773-5188 to let us know.

    NEW YORK, NY
    The New York City People's Life Fund has embarked on a new coalition building campaign, saying, "The only way to push the system to address neglected needs is to build a strong, firmly committed coalition with other like-minded groups." The PLF is therefore asking its members for a unique form of support - to consider placing some part of their personal savings in the Fund for at least one year, and donating any interest accrued to the Fund.

    The NYC Fund is now in its 28th year; it has awarded countless grants and loans over the last two-and-a-half decades. The members believe the Life Fund's task is not only to refuse to support the death-dealing ethos of the Nineties, but to build a new ethos as well. They hope, with more money, to help struggling community groups create energy that will beget more energy. For more information, contact: NYC PLF, 339 Lafayette St., New York, NY, 10003, (212)929-4833, email: nycplf@blythe.org.

    N. MANCHESTER, IN
    The War Tax Resisters Penalty Fund sent out their latest appeal (#34) in January, 1998, with a first time request for $0! This unusual occurrence was the result of a generous response to the previous appeal, #33, when 277 members sent in a total of $4,356.89 to cover penalties of $2,551. This left $2,161, which was enough to cover the most recent requests totaling about $2,000.

    The WTRPF noted three members who recently had taxes, penalties, and interest seized. They were in a position to handle the financial burden at the moment and so did not request assistance from the fund. This means the fund can more likely help those who don't have access to money and wouldn't be able to keep up their resistance otherwise.

    For more information: WTRPF, Box 25, N. Manchester, IN, 46962. Web: http://www.nonviolence.org/resource/wtrpf.htm



    Perspective
    Poem by Jane Livingston of Veazie, Maine
    February 17, 1998
    Dedicated to all of the children and women of Iraq


    Photo of Jane and Grace Livingston by Ann Holland
    This is my beautiful, brown-eyed daughter.
    She does not want to kill your brown-eyed child.

    When my government comes
    looking for money
    to build the bombs
    to fly the planes
    to train the men to kill your parents,
    your teenagers,
    your babies

    I will say no,
    and no and no and no.

    How can I keen and weep over war,
    and write a check on April 15?

    How can any piece of land
    or box of windows
    be more precious than the life
    behind those eyes?

    I will look into the brown eyes beside me and say,
    "Maybe alone I cannot stop it,
    but I can not pay for it."



    About More than a Paycheck
    "More Than a Paycheck" is a publication of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC), a clearinghouse and resource center for the conscientious war tax resistance movement in the United States. NWTRCC is a coalition of local, regional and national affiliate groups working on war tax related issues.

    NWTRCC sees poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, economic exploitation, and environmental destruction as integrally linked with the militarism which we abhor. Through the redirection of our tax dollars, NWTRCC members contribute directly to the struggle for peace and justice for all.

    Hard copy subscriptions to More Than a Paycheck (6 issues per year) are available for $10 per year. Editor: Karen Marysdaughter.

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