National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee

Coordinating Committee Meeting Minutes

Boston, Mass. — Sunday, November 7, 2010

Present: Ruth Benn (NWTRCC Coord., N.Y.), Lily D. (N.Y.), Gary Erb (Col.), David Fillingham (Mass.), Naomi Paz Greenberg (CPTI rep to U.N., N.Y.), David Gross (AdComm, Calif.), Emilie Hamilton (Pioneer Valley WTR, Mass.), Clark Hanjian (Mass.), Clare Hanrahan (AdComm, New South Network of War Resisters, N.C.), Dan Jenkins (CPTI Legal Committee, N.Y.), Charlie and Angie Keil (Conn.), Anita LaFollette (Sonoma County, Calif.), Juanita Nelson (Pioneer Valley WTR, Mass.), H.A. Penner (1040forPeace.org, Pa.), Robert Randall (Ga.), Jason Rawn (Maine), Mary Regan (N.E. WTR, Mass.), Larry Rosenwald (N.E. WTR, Mass.), Ginny Schneider (Fundraising Committee coord. N.H.), Coleman Smith (New South Network of War Resisters, N.C.), Peter Smith (Michiana WTR, Ind.), Joffre Stewart (Ill.), Jim Stockwell (N.C.), Erica Weiland (AdComm, Wash.), Daniel Woodham (N.C.)

Regrets: Co-Treasurers Rick Bickhart and Melissa Jameson; Charles Carney, AdComm (AdComm alternates Alexandra Monk and Kima Garrison did not plan to make this meeting)

(Scroll to bottom for links to notes from other sessions.)

1 — Consultant Report (written)

Ruth introduced it and mentioned that she also does other freelance work. Ruth is now at 7½ years with NWTRCC! NWTRCC coordinators have always worked as consultants; it is not a salaried position; the office moves where the coordinator lives.

Jonathan Stubbs comes in about once a week for a few hours; mostly he’s helping get the history exhibit ready to post on the website, but he also helps with mailings or whatever. We have a lot of active volunteers around the country now. Yay!

2 — Consultant Review

Clare explained the process for the review, which includes sending a survey to everyone on the network list to help do the consultant review, so watch for the survey. Results and discussion take place at May 2011 meeting.

A question was asked about who can be a member of NWTRCC? NWTRCC is a coalitions of groups so there are group affiliate members; individuals can be on the mailing list for fund appeals that include announcements or other info, plus they can subscribe to More Than A Paycheck. See the Join Us webpage.

3 – “Death and Taxes” promotion report & brainstorm

Ruth reported on some of the things that were being done to promote the film and the new Thoreau study kit for teachers including mailing to peace studies programs, Quaker schools, and a miscellaneous list of libraries. An ad was placed in Rethinking Schools and The Progressive for the Thoreau Kit. The film was part of various film festivals, the main benefit being listed on their websites. We sell at conferences and meetings, etc. We paid for a barcode to help with institutional sales, for a review in Library Journal, and we will try to get listed on Amazon.

Daniel asked who has not seen it and a number raised their hands; local groups will try to get them to showings.

Does Netflix list it? We will investigate.

How much did 1,000 copies cost? — $940

Larry Rosenwald will make sure Thoreau society and Walden group know about the kit.

Charlie and Angie will collect some lists for social studies teachers and programs.

Everyone can download or ask for the ad sheet for local newsletters.

Find lists for alternative school associations & home schooling

For libraries it might be best if individuals take copies to their own library; we hope to get a grant that will allow us to give more away, like to libraries.

Coleman and others are working on a guide to go with this; might be an online resource.

Cable access – if you know people who do shows please ask them to use

Have a table with DVDs at history associations or other relevant gatherings. If you do counter-recruitment tables in schools think of adding the film to what’s on the table or ask Ruth for flyers.

4 – Proposal: Ad Policy for MTAP

Dave G presented his proposal to approve a policy for putting paid ads in newsletter. We don’t have policy, or paid ads, at this point. We do run ads for NWTRCC and NWTRCC resources. Ad Comm suggested the rates were too high in the proposal and a business card should be $35.

Ruth noted that her worry is having to juggle another thing when it is already easy to fill the newsletter.

How about having to decide whether it’s an appropriate ad or not? Who would decide?

It is thought that some within our network would find this a good way to donate to NWTRCC and have some benefit. Some in the room said they would take an ad.

Robert suggesting that we limit ads to people in the network. Others disagreed that there would be too many grey areas.

One page/full page ad inserts seem easiest to handle. Rick Bickhart, who does the desk top publishing, sent in a comment that worried this was going to take more time that it’s worth but also that if we offer ads he should be asked to set them up, to maintain the quality/look of the newsletter.

Peter wondered if we’d be putting the ads up in the online text newsletter? Peter would rather not have to do that; most seemed fine with the fact that the PDF is online and will have the ads.

The proposal as written says that “the coordinator is authorized….” Erica suggested to change that to “coordinator and AdComm” can provide support and guidance; the fact that we have a policy is not gong to mean we are spending a lot of time soliciting ads.

“Editorial discretion will be exercised” – you don’t know who will want to advertise

Consensus for proposal with the change that it becomes “This proposal would accept paid advertising in More Than a Paycheck, NWTRCC’s newsletter, and would authorize NWTRCC’s coordinator and Administrative Committee to set and adjust advertising policies and rates.”

5 — CMTC Fund

At our last meeting we had a discussion about NACC seeking a new home for the fund – the largest in the country. Bill Ramsey in St. Louis is taking it on. It’s currently being moved and will be set up by the end of year.

6 — International Report

Larry Rosenwald attended the International Conference of War Tax Resisters and Peace Tax Campaigns in Norway July 4, 2010. For those who had not read his report in the newsletter he gave a summary of the weekend and his impressions. At the end of the weekend a letter from the conference was sent to Norwegian legislators urging creating of PTF in Norway. Most attendees are not war tax resisters and cannot resist because of the way taxes are paid in their countries; most work on peace tax fund legislation in their countries. Larry showed “Death and Taxes” and many said “we wish we could refuse to pay.” As far as WTR contributions, Larry thinks the conferences benefit from the freedom and anarchic diversity in our network/movement. We can learn from them especially with regard to agreeing on common objective; working within institutions – legal, parliamentary, religious. We can learn from each other. We would all be better off in creating common activities if not common objectives.

Next conference Buenes Aires

Not youthful; average age 60

7 – Conscience and Peace Tax International (CPTI)

Daniel Jenkins spoke a bit about the question of NWTRCC affiliating with CPTI, which is based in Belgium. It is an organization similar in some ways to NWTRCC, linking organizations; started by a number of Americans at the conferences; they are tight about members and individual members; CPTI could use some new energy flowing into their organization; some of their objectives are a bit legalistic for us but we might fit or they might refuse us. A proposal to apply for CPTI membership will come to the May meeting.

Dan Jenkins and Naomi Paz Greenberg are on CPTI’s Legal committee.

A question was asked about the Peace Tax Fund legislation here in the U.S. and whether there is discussion about how the bill is written; is the movement conscious of the question of increasing taxes because of peace taxes going into a fund? – not a discussion for our meeting, but it is continually discussed in the PTF network.

8 – Objectives Review and Setting New Objectives for Coming Year

Coleman has access to developing TV show

Tax day is getting less important and we may need to adjust our objectives around that in the coming years as we’ve put much focus on tax day press releases etc. There were organizing ideas from the national group that met on Saturday for outreach days; those should be noted for further discussions and actions.

More Than a Paycheck is getting good reviews and Ruth was asked about the process for producing the newsletter to which she gave a description of the process.

Zip search for contacts – may or may not do – dave g has comments about it

Joffre asked about his proposal to add a category in polls for redirection to resisters and to fundraise for NWTRCC. Ruth had received this in the mail but had not considered it a proposal as we don’t control penny polls. It will run as a letter to the editor as it was in response to the penny poll article in the Oct./Nov. issue.

Consensus on Objectives with changes (written)

9 — Finance Report (written)

NWTRCC is coming out ahead this year, which is good given the deficit last year. Question asked about what accounts for better year? Hard to say for sure but we did get the 2 special and unusual “inheritance redirections.” The Fundraising Committee is making calls to lapsed donors and affiliates who have not paid dues. That helps. Some affiliates that did not give in 2009 gave extra in 2010, so sometimes we have that up and down in affiliates. This is a good year.

It was agreed that the special donation of $5,400, which has been received, would show as income in this fiscal year but would be put into the reserves unless we need to tap it before Nov. 30, but that is not expected.

10 — Fundraising Report

Ginny gave a report on the various activities, including calling lapsed donors and getting after affiliates who have not paid dues. Erica wrote a couple grants and we received $1,000 from Resist. The other funder has not responded as yet. We still have scarves! We’ve listed the excess blank ones on Craigslist but no replies. Ruth will post on Ebay.

AdComm and Fundraising Committee both talked about adding a third fund appeal, at least this year, probably in February-ish. Arrives during tax season, encourages redirection, and gives ideas for actions before and on tax day also.

Fundraising Committee welcomes new volunteers.

11 — New budget (written)

How to raise salary or health insurance reimbursement; any ideas for new income that would allow a raise for Coordinator? Short of ideas, question of whether this can be reviewed in May. Treasurers and AdComm should make a proposal at next budget round; Peter says to move $80 from adjusted budget draft to consultant

Add the 3rd fund appeal – seems like a good idea and might bring the general donations up to what is currently budgeted — $8,000.

Close the separate Video project account (bottom of report sheet) out and move that $60 into income.

Fundraising Committee will make calls about a month after the fall appeal is mailed to remind donors to give. Should help with income.

Suggestion to raise our large donor cut off amount to $500 (currently at $100), though concerns that it throws off year-to-year comparisons. Or at least change to over $100 and under $100. Deferred to FR committee.

If a region launches fundraising for NWTRCC do we owe NWTRCC money? Groups fundraise in their own name and pay dues to NWTRCC when possible (or more if you want).

Consensus on adding $80 to coordinator pay to balance the budget. Yes
Consensus on budget as adjusted. Yes

11 — Next meeting site

San Francisco, May 6–8, 2011 – AdComm talked about putting a focus on skills training at this gathering. Ideas included using the Thoreau packet for teachers; talking to media; how to talk about WTR that doesn’t turn people off; online outreach; consensus process and facilitation; strategies for making oneself uncollectible/resisting collection

Kansas City in November 2011; we can expect to be part of an action at the new bomb plant there.

Consensus — Yes

12 — New AdComm members and process

The Dec./Jan. newsletter will announce that nominations are open for the Administrative Committee and info will be sent to the network list. Dave Gross (Calif.) and Erica Weiland (Wash.) will finish their terms at the May meeting and 2 new alternates are needed. Clare Hanrahan (N.C.) and Charles Carney (Mo.) remain as full members and current alternates Alexandra Monk (Calif.) and Kima Garrison (Ore.) move into full positions for 2 years.
Self-nominations welcome; please get the word around and think of people in your network to nominate. Geographic, age, and ethnic diversity are priorities.

13 — Meeting Evaluations

Yay that we are ending on time; no hard decisions at this meeting but nice to have a little break with that. Good that we are on better economic footing. Good to see nuts and bolts and glad to be part of this; pretty impressed with meeting; good to sit in on meeting; weekend very informative and inspiring for newcomer; good intro to this group first time here; first time going to refuse war taxes; good meeting a little overwhelmed to see agenda – pad more for explanation for newcomers with explanation about where proposals come from and acronyms etc. Good job on facilitation, more ways to welcome people in – sometimes we have no newcomers or have a coach or buddy to explain; came late, the last five minutes were excellent; echo about newcomers with sympathy to people running meeting with the mix of experts and neophytes; the last 5 plus the other 175 minutes were great too; reflect on hard work of AdComm and dedication to purpose; “may you live in interesting times”; learned a lot of acronyms; hesitated to go to a men’s room so I wouldn’t miss something; best been to in decades; Thanks to AdComm for the day of planning; appreciate local folks participation – really happy so many of you came; thanks for agenda and shared facilitation; echo for conference in general and mixing in new and experienced; appreciated spirit in which everyone participated; no hidden agendas and that is gratifiying – we are all on the same side – after having sat though many Quaker meetings this is way better; deep appreciation to ad comm members, thank you; intro to WTR should be earlier in the day on Saturday; good to be among and practice own skills in leadership; good, interesting space to meet in; thanks Gary for keeping time

Thanks to Larry Dansinger for all his hard work for the weekend!

Personal thoughts on WTR/Antiwar Stories from Saturday a.m. discussion

Group discussions on resisting on a taxable income and on a low income

Read about the Friday night session on Dave Gross’ blog and click the forward button for more of his impressions from the weekend.