About

Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) is a diverse campaign of more than 420 national, state and local endorsing organizations united in support of a fair tax system that works for all Americans. It has come together based on the belief that the country needs comprehensive, progressive tax reform that results in greater revenue to meet our growing needs. This requires big corporations and the wealthy to pay their fair share in taxes, not to live by their own set of rules. ATF is a project of the New Venture Fund – a section 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Americans for Tax Fairness Action Fund (ATFAF) is related to but should not be confused with Americans for Tax Fairness. ATFAF is a fiscally sponsored project of the Sixteen Thirty Fund, a section 501(c)(4) non-profit organization.

Principles

Americans for Tax Fairness was established to help make the economy work for all — with adequate levels of investment in critical areas that create and sustain jobs and a balanced and equitable approach to decisions on the federal budget challenges we face. This requires raising sufficient revenues with everyone, including corporations, paying their fair share of taxes. These are the core principles that unite the Americans for Tax Fairness coalition:

  • America needs an economy that grows jobs and works for all. Our nation has urgent needs, including creating sufficient jobs; investing in education and making college affordable; rebuilding our deteriorating infrastructure; shoring up Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid for the long term; reducing poverty and protecting the most vulnerable; and addressing long-term fiscal challenges.
  • Everyone must pay their fair share. We need to reform our tax code, so it raises adequate revenues to meet critical needs in a fiscally responsible manner. This requires that wealthy Americans – the richest 2 percent – and corporations pay their fair share of taxes.
  • Put American jobs first by closing corporate tax loopholes. We need to eliminate tax breaks and subsidies that allow some corporations to pay very limited amounts of taxes, or avoid paying taxes altogether, while encouraging multinational corporations to shift profits and jobs offshore. Corporations’ share of federal taxes has declined dramatically over the years; therefore, any corporate tax reform should require the corporate sector to contribute more in federal income-tax revenue than it does now, not less.

Organization

Americans for Tax Fairness is directed by a Steering Committee made up of roughly a dozen representatives from the most active members of the coalition. The committee sets the agenda and budget for the coalition, selects the coalition’s three co-chairs and hires its executive director. The current Steering Committee members and co-chairs are as follows, in alphabetical order:

  • Ed Jayne, AFSCME (Co-chair)
  • Greg Jefferson, AFL-CIO
  • Margarida Jorge, Health Care for America Now! (Co-chair)
  • Chuck Marr, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
  • Amy Matsui, National Women’s Law Center
  • Larry Mishel, Economic Policy Institute (Co-chair)
  • Laura Peralta-Schulte, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
  • Jean Ross, Center for American Progress
  • Kim Trinca, National Education Association
  • Debbie Weinstein, Coalition on Human Needs
  • Jon Whiten, Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy

ATF’s funding comes from foundations, major donors, grassroots members and labor organizations. 

ATF’s agenda is executed by a dedicated staff mostly based in Washington, D.C.

Program

  • Providing strategic direction and coordination to the coalition. ATF coordinates lobbying, public education, polling and messaging research, national and state communications strategies, field mobilization, and production of public education materials. 
  • Coordinating coalition lobbying efforts in Congress. ATF coordinates national partners’ lobbyists to deliver a strong message to Congress. ATF works with national and state groups to meet with policymakers and to deliver our messages through media events, email and social media.
  • Helping shape progressive tax reform messaging. ATF works with allies to identify and disseminate winning messages on tax fairness issues to policymakers, coalition partners and the media so allies are singing from the same songbook. We partner with key stakeholders and conduct polls and aggregate information from other public polls, and prepare messaging materials that are adjusted as new issues and developments occur in the tax-reform debate. 
  • Executing a robust communications program. ATF and state partners secure hundreds of news stories and media mentions a year through earned media events, releasing short reports, placing op-eds, and educating opinion writers. Our digital media program mobilizes activists through email and social media and engages key influencers and other coalition partners.
  • Working with leading think tanks and constituency groups to identify research and policy needs and prepare public education materials. ATF assists policymakers in developing progressive tax reform proposals and prepares brief reports and fact sheets each year used to educate policymakers, the public and the media.

Co-Chairs

Lawrence Mishel

President, Economic Policy Institute

Lawrence Mishel is a nationally recognized economist and former president of the Economic Policy Institute, the nation’s premier research organization focused on U.S. living standards and labor markets. Mishel joined EPI in 1987 as research director and became president in 2002. Mishel has written extensively on wage and job quality trends in the United States. He co-authored all 12 editions of The State of Working America, a book that former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich called “the most-trusted source for a comprehensive understanding of how working Americans and their families are faring in today’s economy.” He co-edited a research volume on emerging labor market institutions for the National Bureau of Economic Research. His 1988 research on manufacturing data led the U.S. Commerce Department to revise the way it measures U.S. manufacturing output. This new measure helped accurately document the long decline in U.S. manufacturing, a trend that is now widely understood. Prior to joining EPI, Mishel held a fellowship at the U.S. Department of Labor, served as a faculty member at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, and served as an economist for several unions, including the United Auto Workers, United Steelworkers, AFSCME, and the Industrial Union Department of the AFL-CIO. Mishel holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Edwin Jayne

Director of Federal Government Affairs, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)

Ed Jayne has over 30 years of governmental affairs, coalition building and public policy experience. He helps direct the extensive legislative program for AFSCME, the nation’s largest and fastest growing public services employees union with more than 1.6 million working and retired members. AFSCME’s members provide the vital services that make America happen. AFSCME advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services and prosperity and opportunity for all working families. AFSCME also supports progressive tax policies that help ensure state and local governments can adequately invest in public services. He serves on the board of the Coalition on Human Needs and Citizens for Tax Justice. Prior to joining AFSCME, Jayne worked for more than 15 years in senior staff positions for both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. He is a graduate of the State University of New York at Cortland.

Margarida Jorge

Strategic and Organizational Development Consultant

Margarida Jorge is a 23-year veteran of electoral, union, civic engagement and issue campaigns and a recognized expert in the development of field strategies for local, state and national issue advocacy.

From 2008-2013, Margarida served as the National Field Director at Health Care for America Now, where she pioneered a new field model now widely used across issues and organizations that increased capacity for over 200 grassroots organizations in 44 states to pass, implement and defend the landmark Affordable Care Act.

Over the past 10 years in Washington, DC, Margarida also led SEIU’s Americans for Health Care campaign, developed and implemented field strategy for the Americans for Tax Fairness campaign, and built the intersectional “Stand with Women” campaign to integrate reproductive rights and economic justice at the Women’s Equality Center, where she served as National Director.

Prior to working in DC, Margarida spent over 10 years working for labor unions, community organizations and candidates in states like Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Florida and others. She was been recognized for her contributions to organizing and campaigns with the St. Louis City NAACP Outstanding Leadership & Dedicated Service to Labor Award (2005), the Hershel Walker Peace and Justice Award (2005), the Campaign for America’s Future Nominee for Maria Leavey Tribute Award (2009), and the USAction Progressive Leadership Grassroots Activism Award (2009).

Margarida currently works as a strategic and organizational development consultant for a variety of progressive organizations including Vision First, PICO National Network, Working America, Main Street Alliance, and the Child Care and Early Learning Action Hub.

Staff

David Kass

Executive Director

David has built coalitions and led legislative campaigns for more than 25 years at the national and state levels to bring about major social policy and tax changes. He previously served as President of the Council for a Strong America, a national nonprofit of “unexpected messengers” uniting retired admirals and generals, business executives, law enforcement leaders, pastors, and prominent coaches and athletes who promote evidence-based solutions to ensure our next generation of Americans thrives. He also served as the Acting Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations at the U.S. Department of Housing. Additionally, he worked for then-Senator John Kerry where he wrote the Kerry-Kennedy “Children’s Health Initiative” which passed as the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and now provides health insurance to seven million children annually. Most recently, he was the Vice President for Government Affairs and Legal Resources at the Council on Foundations where he led the Council’s legislative strategy to help the organization’s 800 foundations advance the greater good, including how to address wealth inequality. He has a master’s in public affairs from Princeton’s School of Public Affairs, a masters in political science from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and an undergraduate degree from Amherst College. He also was an adjunct faculty at American University where he taught “Children, Poverty and Public Policy.” David likes to do triathlons, consistently finishing in the bottom 50 percent.

Mara Quint

Wealth Tax Campaign Director

Maura serves as ATF’s Wealth Tax Campaign Director, working with the coalition to advance legislation to create a fair tax code. Prior to joining ATF, she served as the Executive Director of Tax March and was one of the founding members of the organization in 2017. She is committed to the fight for economic justice and focused on the intersection of taxes and a slate of progressive priorities. Maura currently also serves as a member of the Advisory Board of Tax March as well as a member of the Pennsylvania Working Families Party Endorsement Committee. As a writer, she has also led rooms of comedy writers in service of bringing humor to progressive activism and regularly contributes to a variety of publications. She resides in Pennsylvania with her children and an occasional houseplant.

Andrea Haverdink

Digital Director

Andrea is the digital director for ATF, and shapes our strategy for creative content and organizing across social media and email. She found her passion for social media, digital content, and economic justice growing up in rural Michigan, and moved to Washington, DC in 2017 to pursue those passions. Before working at ATF, Andrea was an Associate Producer at American Family Voices. She received her BS in Political Science from Grand Valley State University, where she was awarded Outstanding Honors Senior Thesis for her work on mandatory arbitration in consumer contracts. She currently resides in Arlington, VA.

Rina Welch

Digital Manager

As digital manager, Rina runs ATF’s social media assets and coordinates digital activities with activists and influencers across the country to shape the tax fairness policy debate and drive effective action. Working on a joint project with Health Care for American Now, she works to provide collaborative materials for advocates and ensures ATF’s and HCAN’s message reaches a wide and influential audience. Prior to joining ATF, Rina worked as the Media and Advocacy Director at the youth mobilization group Blue Future. While originally from the Bay Area, she currently resides in Cleveland after graduating with a degree in political science from Ohio University.

Zachary Tashman

Senior Research and Policy Associate

Zachary is a key part of ATF’s research and policy team and works on data analysis. He moved to Washington, D.C. to attend American University, where he studied political science and public policy. He first fostered an interest in tax policy during his internships in the United States Senate and at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Prior to joining ATF, Zachary served as the federal policy associate for the National Human Services Assembly, where he developed policies focused on increasing collective well-being and as an economic policy analyst at 20/20 Vision where he managed their fiscal policy portfolio.