National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee

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National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee
Meeting Minutes

Las Vegas, Nevada Sunday, November 5, 2006

Thanks so much to Las Vegas Catholic Worker Gary, Sally, Julia for hosting us and for the great food! A write-up on the Friday and Saturday sessions will be forthcoming in the December newsletter and online.

Reports from video workshop, sign-on statement outreach brainstorm, local reports, and counseling update are at nov06smallgroups.htm.

Present: Lincoln Rice (Milwaukee WTR), Alice Liu (San Francisco, AdComm), Clark Hanjian (Massachusetts, Adcomm), Peter Smith (Michiana, IN WTR), Susan Balzer (Heartland Alternative Fund, KS, AdComm), Robert Randall (Brunswick, GA, AdComm Alternate), Tana Hastings, Portland, OR WTR, Treasurer), Eszter Freeman (Sonoma County, CA WTR, Fundraising Clerk), David Gross (San Francisco), Mike Butler (Gallup, NM), Joffre Stewart (Chicago, IL), Daniel Woodham (Greensboro, NC, AdComm), Ruth Benn (Brooklyn, NY, NWTRCC Coordinator), Steev Hise (Tucson, AZ), Joe Maizlish (So CA WTR, Los Angeles), Peg Morton (Eugune, OR, Taxes for Life)

1. Video Proposal (Original proposal)
AdComm recommended approval of proposal as written, adding video budget lines to income/expense lines of budget.

Question: how are we going to get the income/grants as seed money for more grants if we need seed money to get the first $3,000. Is the $3,000 real? Reply: The groups that we are talking about going to for the $3,000 are the small funders that don't have the qualifications about showing seed money before giving us anything. Questions regarding timeline for the contest and whether we will be able to get the word out fast enough. Everyone is asked to think of places to advertise the contest and any teachers/schools that have video programs where students might be asked to enter.

Everyone is excited about the contest
Consensus on full proposal - Yes
Add to the video committee: Lincoln
See also nov06smallgroups.htm

2. Consultant's Report (Written report)
Asked about any trends in the calls coming in, Ruth noted that the phone is not ringing off the hook and a lot of questions come by email but nothing major stands out right now. A number of the people interested in WTR now are people who paid and didn't like it but then the IRS asks for more and the person feels they can't pay another penny. Still questions on the phone tax - problems with local companies and not understanding the long distance tax is dropped. Have had a desire to refer some emails to other counselors but so far haven't been so overwhelmed and sometimes it's easier to send a quick reply. Some calls about social security levies also.

The coordinator evaluation is coming up next Spring; a letter and form will be mailed to everyone on the network list to solicit comments. The AdComm will coordinate this with Susan Balzer getting it started.

Everyone thanked Ruth for her good work.

3. International Conference Report (written report)
Larry Rosenwald was our rep, and other U.S. attendees included Daniel Jenkins and Alan Gamble (Peace Tax Fund).

We tried to send Milena from the CO group in Colombia to the meeting but when she went to get her flight she needed a U.S. visa to fly through Newark to Germany and was not allowed to board. There was no way she could make it to the conference at that point. We now have a $1,000 ticket nonrefundable, nontransferable ticket in Milena's name. Our options are: try to get Continental to refund the ticket (which is unlikely); have her use it for another CO meeting this year and maybe get a refund from the group hosting the meeting; fly her to SOAW (unlikely at short notice); fly her to our May meeting and use her for other events at that time. Ruth will be working on this and will seek advice as needed.

4. Survey Committee Report
Bill Ramsey (Survey committee coordinator) sent a short report on the collection of surveys, commenting only on the percentages favoring a 1-year campaign, and asked whether we thought we were ready for the 1-year campaign.

The report noted: To date we have received 324 surveys (142 from people who have never done WTR, 165 from people presently doing WTR, and 19 from people who did WTR, but don't now.)
Of the "never's", 85 said "yes" they would consider taking art in one year commitment with others. 46 said "no"
Of the "presently"s", 99 said that mass one-year action would strengthen their commitment. 57 said "no"
Of the "once did's" 14 said " they would consider taking art in one year commitment with others. 5 said "no"
There is much more to be gleaned from the survey, but these responses speak to the question before us.
Are these results are enough for us to move ahead on April 17, 2007. Or do we want a larger response and make our plans for 2008?

A small group (Peg Morton, Robert Randall, David Gross, Ruth Benn, Joe Maizlish, Eszter Freeman) met on Saturday, discussed the survey and the various options, and came up with these recommendations to the CC: "

• We're not ready for a nationwide campaign for the next tax season;

• Continue circulating and collecting surveys; get a lot at SOAW; local groups should use it more; set a goal of collecting 5,000 surveys through March 19 weekend actions. Tabulate and bring a full report to the May CC meeting and put article in More than a Paycheck;

• Assuming a high percentage say that they would resist in a 1-year campaign, use that information to go to the larger coalitions like UFPJ or the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance Against the War in Iraq, showing them why they should take on leadership of this campaign. Approach the large national coalitions/organizations and rally people to do it; our network can provide the "how tos" and counseling as needed. Use our survey to say to them we have these results and it's time for you to lead it; give them almost a kit - "We have info on what your target audience wants" - make it easy for them to take it on. Get the leadership to agree to resist as individuals; education within their networks;

• Encourage local groups to try some kind of focused campaign or more focused mentoring of new resisters. Joe suggested gathering new resisters before tax day to commit to WTR, having a resistance celebration on tax day itself, following up with a gathering for support/check-in.

• Use the sign-on statement to build interest and a list of resisters this year.

There are all those other questions on the survey that we don't have the detail on that will be useful for us. We look forward to that detail. Some were concerned about how we get people's names who say they are interested on the survey. The survey is anonymous so we need to try to give them other info at the time they fill out the survey.

At tables the survey is a great way to engage people and get them thinking. The outreach and education just of the survey is great. Everyone in this room needs to get the survey around Have it on the web as a fill-in form - check out the free services that will take your survey and set it up. Folks going to SOAW will ask Bill what's happening with this.

The outline set up by the committee is accepted by the group.
Comments on the survey to Bill Ramsey, Coordinator, hras@humanrightsaction.net

5. Proposal for a Sign On Statement - (Original proposal)
In response to the proposal that we circulate a new sign on for people who are refuse to pay for war, the AdComm recommended that a small group be formed this weekend to rewrite/develop a statement. A draft was brought to the CC.

The project was approved, and the final text is:

Don't pay for war in Iraq
The war in Iraq has cost hundreds of thousands of lives, many more maimed and psychologically injured, and devastated Iraqi society.
Our own society is also being devastated by the direction of federal tax dollars to the war. Our infrastructure is falling apart and real human needs, such as education and health care, are not met.
The majority of people oppose this war, and yet the death and destruction will continue so long as the U.S. military remains in Iraq. Billions more dollars will be spent making us less safe.
To stop this madness we, the people, must stop paying for war. We cannot wait for others to stop it for us.
We refuse to pay for the war.
We call on others to join us by refusing to pay some or all of their federal income taxes and redirecting the money toward healing the wounds of war and meeting real human needs.

This will be available in printed versions and on the web by Dec. 1 from the NWTRCC office.

Could use it as an ad, put it on the internet as a sign-on, locals can use it, could replace the HUOW, send to Congress, Catholic Worker might print it, get some bigger names, use it in tax day press and press releases, etc. etc. We have done this before and need to follow some of the steps used in the past. Some felt we should include more issues than Iraq, like Iran, Israel/Palestine, North Korea, but we agreed to stick with Iraq for this one.

More outreach ideas at nov06smallgroups.htm

6. Handbook - See detail of changes at bottom of this page after evaluations.
Clark collected NWTRCC process and decisions into a Handbook that was presented at the Strategy Conference CC. It is to clarify and get things up to date. He prepared some edits and changes for this meeting - all written out. We are not bound to this; things can be changed.

A few of the special changes include:
The AdComm description is clearer and listed.
The Treasurer position is made clearer
Appointing people - editor of the handbook; clerk - it's specified

This gets us up to date and now it should be easier to change. We will post the corrected Handbook on a non-public page on the NWTRCC website and printed copies will be available from the office and at each meeting.

Passed with consensus. Thanks Clark!

7. Speaker's Bureau - (Original proposal)
Everyone appreciated Pam Allee's ideas presented in the proposal which didn't outline anything specific enough to recommend for a project. We would like her to make it into an article for the newsletter.

Encourage local's to be more assertive and formal in getting out speakers locally and regionally; consider bringing someone from a little ways away to speak - an outside person seems more exciting to local groups. Eugene is looking at regional speakers and this is helping them get new ideas; maybe go to Salem

Locals should let us know if support or speakers' trainings are needed from NWTRCC.

All suggestions affirmed.

8. Resources

Practical #5 Update - Everyone thanks David Gross for all his work on this update. He got comments from many people this weekend, and now we need a process for getting this done. Ruth will see about getting an update from Juanita for her story.

December 1 - deadline to get comments to David
David fixes it up and sends it to a committee for final review (by Dec. 15).
Editing window open for the next few weeks - finish by Jan 10.
Comments back to David for final fixes, then to Ruth/Susan Q for publication process.

Review Committee: Joe Maizlish (convenor), Peter, Joffre, Lincoln (maybe to youth review committee, but maybe not), Ruth - ask: Clare Hanrahan, Susan Van Haitsma
Joe will send reminders to committee of the process and deadlines; they could have a conference call if that would facilitate the process - ask Ruth to set up a time.

W-4 - done

Student Financial Aid - Ruth has drafted what might be #1 in counseling/legal updates sheets that we have had as an objective for ages. Various people took the draft and others who have asked NWTRCC about this topic had already received it by email. Get comments to Ruth by November 23 (let her know if you'd like the draft).

Money -Ruth had an idea to do a practical on Money with a few articles that already exist and others that come to mind. Contents thus far include Karen Marysdaughter's old article on Money and WTRs, Juanita on Interest with comments by Bob Irwin, a new piece by George Salzman on inheriting money and how he decided to handle new wealth. AdComm suggested this be a little booklet but not called a Practical since it is not about WTR specifically.

Volunteers to help with this: Peg Morton, others welcome. Contact Ruth if you would like to review or add to this booklet.

9. Next Meeting
AdComm recommends New England and the Peace Abbey outside of Boston for May 4-6, 2007. We weren't sure if the New England gathering was talking about this during their gathering at the same time as ours. Ruth will check with them and see if it still seems ok. We'd like to see if they will help with the agenda, and will need them to help with airport transport.

Peace Abbey approved if New England WTR is ok with it. Volunteers - Eszter, Alice - to help plan agenda.
Back up for May is Birmingham, AL, if David Waters is ok with that.
Nov. 2-4, 2007 - Kansas - hosted by Heartland Peace Tax Fund

2007 is NWTRCC's 25th Anniversary. Make plans for that at either or both meetings!

10. Objectives - (PDF copy)
Recommendations presented by the AdComm were Approved by consensus.
Peg suggests that we could ask local groups/hers in Eugene that she could suggest names of people that we can target for $$
People who live below taxable level - we could send cards to them also. Sometimes it's hard and that could support them.

11. Budget (PDF copy)
The AdComm presented a budget that included new lines for the Video project and a little money for survey printing expenses.

Get ideas to Eszter Freeman, Fundraising Clerk, on fundraising, particularly ideas for new affiliates and getting donors. Be in touch with her and give her support.

Passed by Consensus!

12. Evaluations
• Housing and logistics - great; get a committee to help plan the agenda instead of just Ruth
• Having us all together is nice. Don't use smelly markers in meeting room.
• Likes staying together rather than being split up. Could start earlier if we get up so early on west coast. Amazing to stay on schedule like this.
• Amazed at how well this works with AdComm meeting on Friday. Great facilities and food and hosting.
• Good agenda and good work on video and staying on task with things that we want to be working on. CW is wonderful!
• Well organized gathering and facilitation and keeping on schedule and on topic. Feels more energized and excited. Good time.
• Good structure; well put together. Have it at another CW. Glad I came. Thank you.
• Loved the weekend. Loved the money talk. On her mind a lot. Stay with other folks here. Very glad they were brought in. Too bad we didn't hear from Jerry or make use of him. Likes it when people share their personal WTR stories - something to recommend.
• Great having it at CW. The work they did left us more time for our work. Found it educational - more than expected. It deepened my conspiracy theories. Has some open questions about what the fallout has done around here - hardly saw birds.
• Great to see what losing Julia O to LA has done. Great to meet Joffre. Apprehensive about jamming the business into Saturday but this weekend on Saturday work got done on the survey, sign on and video. Don't know how to solve the jamming in at end to get things in. Since local people did not come we could do that work. Food etc great. Look at all those police rousts we've seen. Reminds me of the domestic wars. Kept the consciousness of what's going on in our neighborhoods.
• Add a list to the website of "items needing volunteers" for specific topics. Liked the NDE people being here and learning about that.
• We might consider doing a network survey between now and May about the CC meetings and whether the system we've had in place for years is working. If our priority is to bring in local folks we are not being entirely successful, but we did get a lot of work done this weekend. Great to meet Gary and Julia, who are network contacts, as opposed to always relying on affiliates to host.
• Good meeting. Nice to have Saturday night open. Like to have the local aspect - learning from what's going on locally from some of the local activists. Appreciates that part of going around the country.
• Echo all that's been said - loved the money talk. Would like us to follow up on that and maybe break into small groups and dig in on that.
• Good balance of local part and what we need to do. Appreciates the growing connection with all here.
• Katrina video - very important. Glad and appreciative of Peter's presentation and what he had been doing.

The End.
See you May 4-6, 2007. Mark your calendars!
______________________________________________________________________________ Approved Revisions to NWTRCC Handbook

<1> Under "A.2. Statement of Purpose," in the third paragraph, REPLACE the sentence which reads: "Decisions are made by consensus, with major policy decisions being reserved for the bi-annual Action Conference which is held in a different part of the country every two years" with the following text:
"Decisions are made by consensus. NWTRCC also occasionally organizes larger conferences to strengthen the WTR network."

<2> Under "A.2. Statement of Purpose," REPLACE the text for Objective (2) with the following text:
"(2) Publishing and distributing, both online and in print, resources on WTR history, methods, and consequences."

<3> Under "A. General Information," ADD the following section (which summarizes the key points of a recent decision by the CC):
4. NWTRCC Handbook
(A) The NWTRCC Handbook shall serve as the official statement of NWTRCC's standing decisions and practices. In case of a discrepancy, Coordinating Committee (CC) minutes shall supercede the Handbook.
(B) The CC shall appoint an editor for the Handbook. The editor shall be responsible for maintaining an up-to-date edition by incorporating standing decisions of the CC, making minor corrections and revisions, and editing for clarity.
(C) Substantive additions, deletions, or amendments to the Handbook shall be made only with approval from the CC.
Sources: Minutes 9/05, Minutes 5/06

<4> Under "B.2. Administrative Committee," REPLACE section (A) with the following text:
(A) Responsibilities: In general, the Administrative Committee (AC) is responsible for overseeing the functioning of NWTRCC in between Coordinating Committee (CC) meetings. The specific responsibilities of the AC include:
(1) Provide oversight and support for the Coordinator as specified in the "Coordinator" section of this Handbook, with special attention to the following tasks:
(a) Closely monitor the Coordinator's fulfillment of responsibilities. Review and be familiar with all Coordinator reports and financials.
(b) Work with Coordinator to make sure she has the types and extent of support she needs in order to achieve NWTRCC's objectives.
(c) ANNUALLY review the Coordinator's compensation plan.
(d) ANNUALLY ensure that the Coordinator provides AC members with an up-to-date listing of all specified contact and account information.
(e) BI-ANNUALLY conduct a formal evaluation of the Coordinator.
(f) Maintain an up-to-date job description for the Coordinator.
(g) Implement established policies in the event that the Coordinator is incapacitated, dies, resigns, is dismissed, or in the event that that NWTRCC's work may be seriously jeopardized by some action or inaction of the Coordinator.

(2) Provide oversight for the Treasurer in between CC meetings.

(3) ANNUALLY appoint and evaluate Clerks (as specified under "Clerks.")

(4) Prepare for CC meetings by: developing a proposed agenda; arranging for facilitators and minute-takers; and arranging for the decision-making process to be reviewed at the beginning of each CC meeting.

(5) Be familiar with NWTRCC's standing decisions and practices, help the CC to be mindful of these decisions and practices, and propose revisions when appropriate.

(6) Administer the distribution of NWTRCC travel funds.

(7) Other responsibilities as the CC may designate from time to time.

<5> Under "B.2. Administrative Committee," REPLACE section (E) with the following text:
(E) Expenses: Telephone expenses will be reimbursed by NWTRCC when requested by an Administrative Committee member. AC members are encouraged to solicit travel money from their local groups or to pay their own fares if possible. Travel expenses for a full member will be subsidized by NWTRCC when necessary. Travel expenses for an alternate will be subsidized only when the alternate is attending in the absence of a full member.

<6> Under "B.3. Coordinator (Personnel Policy)," DELETE section "(B) Accountability of Coordinator" and DELETE part (3) of section "(C) Oversight and Support of Coordinator." These deletions are accounted for in part by similar wording that appears elsewhere and in part by the following three changes.

<7> Under "B.3. Coordinator (Job Description)," REPLACE the current text for section "A.3. Reports" with the following text:
(A.3) Reports: Report to the AC in writing at least once every three months. This report will cover: (a) all aspects of Coordinator's work; (b) progress on the objectives defined by the CC; and (c) a financial report of all income, expenses, and account balances. Likewise report to the CC at each of its regularly scheduled meetings.

<8> Under "B.3. Coordinator (Job Description)," ADD the following section:
(I) Accountability
Coordinator is ultimately accountable to the CC. When the CC is not in session, Coordinator is accountable to the AC. Coordinator shall abide by all standing decisions and practices of NWTRCC.

<9> Under "B. Organization," ADD the following section:
(9) Treasurer
(A) Appointment: The Coordinating Committee (CC) shall appoint a volunteer Treasurer who will work with the Coordinator to manage NWTRCC's financial affairs.
(B) Accountability: The Treasurer is accountable to the CC. When the CC is not in session, the Treasurer is accountable to the Administrative Committee (AC). The Treasurer may be removed from office at any time by the CC or the AC.
(C) Responsibilities: The Treasurer shall:
(a) Serve as cosigner, with the Coordinator, on all NWTRCC accounts.
(b) Assist the Coordinator to provide an accurate and up-to-date financial report at every CC meeting.
(c) Audit all NWTRCC accounts annually and make a report to the AC.
(d) Offer financial advice and propose financial policies as appropriate.

<10> Under "B.3. Coordinator (Personnel Policy)," ADD the following section (which was recently approved by the CC):
(H) Coordinator's Compensation
(1) NWTRCC desires to provide its Coordinator with reasonable compensation based on hours worked and the needs of the Coordinator. The compensation plan will be negotiated whenever a new Coordinator is hired, within limits set by the Coordinating Committee. NWTRCC is open to considering alternative compensation arrangements on a case-by-case basis. The compensation plan will be outlined in NWTRCC's contract with the Coordinator.
(2) The compensation plan will be reviewed annually by the Administrative Committee, the Treasurer, and the Coordinator. If the Coordinator's needs change (due to a change in the cost-of-living or due to any other factors), the Administrative Committee will recommend an appropriate adjustment. Any recommended changes to the compensation plan should be proposed to the Coordinating Committee as part of the normal budget process.
Source: Minutes 5/06

<11> Under "B.3. Coordinator," DELETE the subheadings "Job Description" and "Personnel Policy," and MERGE the text into one unified outline.

<12> Under "B.8. Working Groups," DELETE sections (A) through (H) which describe all the old groups, and ADD the following text in that place:
Standing Working Groups: [At present, there are no standing Working Groups (WG's). As new WG's are formed, they shall be listed here with a description of their responsibilities. Previous WG's included: Counseling, Fundraising, Legal Information, Literature, Meetings, Networking, Newsletter, and Publicity.]

<13> Under "C. Policies," DELETE section "5. Publicity of Non-WTR Actions."
[This section is outdated.]

<14> Under "C.6. Approval of Literature for Distribution," REPLACE the one reference to "Literature Working Group" with "Administrative Committee."
[Because there is no Literature WG.]

<15> Under "C. Policies," ADD the following section (which was previously approved by the CC and recently found):
8. Sharing of Internal Records
(A) Mailing List: In general, NWTRCC shall not share its mailing list with other organizations due to the need for confidentiality. However, NWTRCC may provide local mailing lists to local groups on a very limited basis, primarily when the groups are known and trusted.
(B) Donors List: In order to protect the confidentiality of donors, NWTRCC shall not disclose any financial records that identifies donors.
Source: Minutes 1/85

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National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee
PO Box 150553, Brooklyn, NY 11215 • Email: nwtrcc@nwtrcc.org
www.nwtrcc.org