TFOC Annual Conference 2007

04/27/2007 12:00 am
04/28/2007 12:59 am

Tax Fairness Organizing Collaborative
2007 Annual Conference - Austin, Texas

The Tax Fairness Organizing Collaborative Fourth Annual Conference was held April 27-28, in Austin, Texas.

The annual conference is an integral part of the Tax Fairness Organizing Collaborative (TFOC) strategic plan, which aims to strengthen the networking, outreach, education and organizing capacity of member organizations. All TFOC members are working to advance progressive taxation at the grassroots level in their states.

The overarching theme of the 2007 conference was Strategies for Sustainable Change in Tax Fairness Organizing. Over two days, 18 participants representing 15 states, (including three new ones from TX, RI, and NV) addressed this theme by exploring, in-depth, six specific issues of interest to member organizations. They include:

  • Immigrants and Taxes
  • Issues in tax fairness organizing at the grassroots: a) reaching our missing constituencies, b) building/working in coalitions, and c) balancing long-term and short-term goals.
  • Corporate tax disclosure at the state level
  • Establishing/expanding the state Earned Income Tax Credit
  • Building and strengthening the Tax Fairness Organizing Collaborative
  • State tax fairness work in the broader context of the movement for global economic justice

Within the context of grappling with these issues, Collaborative members actively shared their best practices and challenges, while also collectively strategizing and problem-solving to concretely enhance their work back home. The conference met its primary goals to:

  • Generate an understanding of "big picture" interconnections among its members beyond specific issues, including points of strategic agreement such as education methodologies, organizing and communication strategies, and geographic proximity.
  • Increase participation and strengthen the value and effectiveness of the Collaborative.
  • Facilitate space for members to generate new organizing perspectives, ideas, and tools; and to have these enhanced by the presence and participation of selected experts and other strategic participants.

Participant evaluations afffirmed that the Tax Fairness Organizing Collaborative is considered a valuable network that organizers wish to participate in.

"There is important value for grassroots organizing organizations, whose work is very different from fiscal analysis organizations, to have a place to brainstorm, strategize, and find best ways to implement organizing strategies, bridge the gap between policy and grassroots work, and communicate about taxes to our constituencies." (This feedback is quoted from a TFOC organizer's evaluation)

Participants said the TFOC conference is a forum in which they receive information and tools that help them in their work, and where they can offer and receive strategic help from other organizers working on similar issues. Participants also put forth suggestions for future meetings, including regional conferences at which more staff from each TFOC organization can attend; bringing more of the talents and resources of national organizations into the conferences; and more emphasis given to media and fundraising.

At the close of the meeting, participants identified ways they will communicate between face-to-face conferences, including participating in affinity groups, utilizing the TFOC's two list serves, and participating in topical conference calls and regional gatherings.