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Advocacy Groups Call On Virginia Senators To Let Bush-Era Tax Cuts Expire

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A coalition of Virginia advocacy organizations and labor unions is calling on U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb to let the Bush-era tax cuts expire for those making more than $250,000.

The members are asking for action during the lame-duck session before scheduled sequestration cuts take effect. The group believes the tax hikes would help prevent cuts to social services.

While many have zeroed in on looming defense cuts, the coalition is focusing on the sequestration of domestic spending. It argues if the tax breaks expire at the upper tax brackets, that would raise $1 trillion over 10 years to offset cuts in those services.

"Cutting Social Security would directly impact the most vulnerable, fixed-income citizens who have given a life of work already into that system," says Lillie Estes, with the group Virginia Organizing.

Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy President Marco Grimaldo says fiscal policies are a moral issue.

"Low-income and middle-income families have lost a lot in recent years," says Grimaldo. "And people of faith know that programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid can be life-saving help."

The members say they do not support Senator-elect Tim Kaine's proposal to end the tax cuts only for those making more than $500,000.

Opponents of increasing the rates for taxpayers in the upper brackets say the plan would also impact small business owners who file their taxes as individuals and who have employees. They say that income diverted away from their businesses could result in job lay-offs or reduced hours for a number of these employees and inadvertently harm many workers who are not wealthy.

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