Ninth International Conference on War Tax Resistance and Peace Tax Campaigns - Hirschluch, Germany 2002

USA

NWTRCC Country Report

Name of person submitting report: Mary Loehr, Coordinator

Organizational structure: NWTRCC has one paid staff person, who works part-time. There are four people on the Board, with two alternates. The Board consults with and supports the Coordinator. They are: Bill O'Connell (Birmingham, Alabama), Sasha Vodnik (Richmond, Virginia), Paula Rogge (Austin, Texas), Jessica Stewart (Ithaca, New York), Peter Smith (alternate, South Bend, Indiana), and Rick Bickhart (alternate, Colorado Springs, Colorado) NWTRCC meets twice a year, at different cities around the country. Business and procedural decisions get made at those meetings. NWTRCC has a membership of about 1500. Our budget is $30,370 for the year 2002.

NWTRCC is a clearinghouse and resource center for the conscientious war tax resistance movement. It is a coalition of local, regional and national affiliate groups working on war tax related issues. NWTRCC sees poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, economic exploitation, environmental destruction and militarization of law enforcement 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. We publish a newsletter six times a year, and have literature that provides specific, practical details about war tax resistance. We offer counseling, both to new members with general questions, and to ‘old-timers’, with very specific questions.

The war tax resistance movement in the United States continues at a steady pace. There are 8,000 to 10,000 war tax resisters in the United States. We were once again present at other events to do outreach (School of the Americas, for example,) and at activist/nonviolence conferences. On Tax Day each year, about 50 groups around the country have a public witness to pass out literature and introduce the idea of war tax resistance to the public. Close to $100,000 of NWTRCC members' tax dollars are redirected to life-affirming groups each year

Significant challenges: One of our ongoing challenges is outreach. With our limited budget, how do we get the word about war tax resistance out to new people? Another challenge is people's fear of the IRS (Internal Revenue Service.) People usually have misinformation about what will happen to them. Many people believe that they will go to jail or have their house taken away, but our experience is that those things are very rare. We encourage people to find or form support in their area. Having others who share the same values and can support you is an invaluable antidote to fear of the IRS.

We do not have much contact with politicians or NGOs. Our sister group, the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund, is more of a lobbying group.