Indivisible Austin Files Freedom of Information Act for Trump Tax Cut

Indivisible Austin has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the U.S. Department of Treasury to demand answers for how Trump’s tax cut will benefit Austin’s wealthiest corporations.

The request, filed with the Office of Tax Policy, seeks any internal documents related to “projections, forecasts, and evaluations made by the OTP of expected changes to the Austin MSA’s tax revenue as a result of the implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.”

“The Trump tax law takes hard-earned tax dollars from middle-class families and gives them to the wealthiest Americans,” said Lisa Goodgame, Board President of Indivisible Austin. “If Steve Mnuchin and the Treasury have information on how this corporate giveaway will impact Austin residents, then Austin residents deserve to know, too.”

As one of the biggest tax cuts in American history, Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax cut is especially benefiting corporations, commercial real estate interests, and private equity managers, among others.

The tax cut comes as Austin City Council deliberates whether to require private employers to provide mandatory paid sick time to Austin families. According to the Work Strong Austin coalition, an estimated 37% of Austin residents do not receive paid sick time from their employer. The vote is currently scheduled for February 15, 2018.

Read the full FOIA letter

Tax plan shell game hurts middle-class Texans

Who is the Tax Cut and Jobs Act for? What is it really meant to do? Create jobs? No. Regardless of how you normally vote, you know this bill doesn’t pass the smell test. It has one priority: cutting taxes for the wealthiest, by shifting the burden to everyone else.

Take our quiz to determine if you’ll get a tax break from the Trump Tax Scam >>

The House version of this scam gives the top .3 percent of Texans 52 percent of cuts. That’s 83,000 out of the nearly 28,000,000 Texans. Imagine the residents of Mission, Texas getting more tax cuts than the rest of the state combined. It would be farcical, if it wasn’t so serious.

The most narrow yet extreme of these cuts may be the elimination of the estate tax, which applies to only the largest .2 percent of estates. A married couple can pass on $10.9 million to their children before any estate tax is due. Do you know anyone who has $11 million to pass on? Rep. Michael McCaul, the wealthiest Texan in Congress, would save $38.7 million. However, this change is really about Sen. Ted Cruz’s desire to save non-Texan Robert Mercer hundreds of millions more. Never mind the expense to the country that provided the environment and secure conditions necessary for them to amass their stunning wealth.

Congress’ tax plans are shell game, offering slightly reduced rates and an increased standard deduction with one hand, while yanking away essential credits and deductions with the other. Important supposed benefits for the middle class include increased child tax credits as well as new credits for essentially every other member of the household. When taken together, these might be enough to make up for the elimination of personal exemptions, which deduct more than $4000 of taxable income for each person in your household. With the introduction of the Senate version of the bill, all the supposed tax benefits for middle class folks will disappear in 2025 — but the corporate tax cuts will be permanent.

You have major medical expenses? Sorry, no deduction. Want an education? Tax credits and deductions for student loan interest are gone. Buying a house with a $750,000 mortgage? Only interest on $500,000 is deductible. Lost everything in a disaster, like so many in Houston and the Gulf Coast? Now you’re really out of luck, because the property loss deduction is lost.

And now the Senate has decided to turn its version of the tax bill into a stealth attempt to repeal the ACA. There’s no question that it will cause premiums to go up and at least 13 million people uninsured by 2027.

Some may end up with a scrap of a benefit for a few years, but many won’t. Even those who do actually see a cut will see it turn into a tax increase by 2027 when the tax cuts for individuals phase out.

Extraordinary cuts will be required to pay for this — cuts that will disproportionately target health care programs that millions of Americans depend on. The House’s budget plan depends on more than $1 trillion in cuts to Medicaid, which is even higher than any of the ACA repeal plans. We expect an immediate $25 billion cut to Medicare, and a total of $500 billion in cuts to Medicare.

All of this is for what? So Wells Fargo can rebuild shareholder value? So the children of billionaires can inherit even more money?

No. It’s not right, and it shouldn’t happen. Tell your representatives that it can’t happen. They work for all 28 million Texans, not just the 83,000 at the top.

Sick of This: Help All Austinites Win Earned Sick Days on 11/16

Guest post from Work Strong Austin Coalition
(Abajo en español)

As Austin continues to grow, too many working people are left without the ability to improve the quality of life for themselves and their families.

All workers, regardless of background, wage level, and occupation, should have access to earned sick days. Unfortunately, approximately 223,000 Austin workers – 37 percent of the total workforce – are at risk of losing wages or being fired if they follow doctor’s orders when they or a family member are ill.

In September, Austin City Council passed a resolution that would begin a public input process to bring Austin working families, business leaders, community groups and public health professionals together to discuss paid sick days. Please join us for the Second Stakeholder Meeting: November 16, 4:00pm – 6:30pm, Town Lake Center Assembly Room 130, 721 Barton Springs Road, Austin, Texas 78704. Come and support paid sick days. We need to make sure our voices are heard.

You can also provide feedback to the City of Austin about why it’s critical for all Austinites to have paid sick days on this online forum here. Can you please take a few minutes to fill out this survey.

Learn more about Work Strong Austin’s paid sick days campaign:



La ciudad de Austin sigue creciendo, debido a esto demasiadas familias trabajadoras se estan quedando atras en la posibilidad de proveer y mejorar la calidad de vida de si mismos y de sus familias.

Todos los trabajadores, independientemente del tipo de trabajo que hagan o de cuánto ganan, deberían de poder cuidarse a sí mismos o a un ser querido en situaciones de necesidad.Desafortunadamente, aproximadamente 223,000 trabajadores en Austin — lo que equivale al 37 por ciento de la fuerza laboral — están en riesgo de perder salarios o ser despedidos si siguen las órdenes del médico cuando ellos o un miembro de su familia están enfermos.

En Septiembre el Concilio de Austin pasó una resolución para iniciar un proceso público en el cual familias de Austin, negocios, grupos comunitarios, médicos entre otros discutirán la posibilidad de una ordenanza de días de enfermedad pagados. Por favor acompáñenos a la segunda reunión de este proceso el 16 de Noviembre de 4:00pm – 6:30pm, Town Lake Center Assembly Room 130, 721 Barton Springs Road, Austin, Texas 78704. Venga a apoyar esta campaña, tenemos que asegurarnos que nuestras voces sean escuchadas.

También puede dar su opinión a la Ciudad de Austin de la importancia crítica para todos que todos los trabajadores tengan este derecho de días de enfermedad pagados. Puede llenar este cuestionario aquí.

How Your Voices Made a Difference: Unraveling

Some weeks are tougher than others, and this was a rough one—between Donny giving companies the right to deny women health care coverage for birth control, to the EPA’s Scott Pruitt rolling back the Obama-era protections of the Clean Power Plan to replace it with his own dirty version and threatening to remove tax incentives for wind and solar power, and of course demented Donald’s latest disgorgements of bile:  trying to circumvent the GOP’s failure to repeal the ACA with an executive order, flouting our First Amendment by threatening to revoke media outlets’ licenses for publishing news he doesn’t like…and the soul-draining childishness of the man-baby-in-chief’s petty feud with Sen. Bob Corker, and GOP lawmakers’ collective cowardly silence in its wake.

But the weird upside of all this awfulness is this: Lately it’s Donny’s own voice making a difference. Don John’s behavior and actions are becoming egregious enough that some of the GOP is beginning to find its spine (and moral compass). Backlash against Donald’s attack on the First Amendment was immediate and bipartisan, including GOP Sen. Ben Sasse’s sharp call-out on Twitter (apparently the new forum of political discourse…sigh). Donald’s attacks against women’s health care have women’s health experts speaking out to refute his premises. His Twitter-tantrum threats to remove aid from Puerto Rico in a crisis “largely of their own making”(while he plays golf yet again) is an attack on and abandonment of more than 3 million Americans drawing broad censure—and his failures as a leader are starkly underscored by five former leaders’ (the five living ex-presidents) banding together to help hurricane victims (of all shades). His undermining a health care system that a majority of Americans now approve of is fueling criticism from states on both sides of the aisle. And his attempts to undermine NAFTA will undoubtedly bring a backlash from the industrial and rural base he so often panders to, who will be most hurt by it. Even Rex Tillerson, after Donald demanded a tenfold increase in nuclear armaments despite decades of policy designed to reduce the nuclear threat worldwide rather than expand it, has realized his boss is a “fucking moron.” (Mensa has kindly offered to host an IQ test to answer the question definitively after Donald tweeted out an “I know you are but what am I” to his secretary of state.) An array of White House insiders report versions of Donny “unraveling” in jaw-droppingly unstable ways.

Meanwhile, the Harvey Weinstein scandal is rocking Hollywood—not only showing conservatives how you handle a sexual predator (by calling it out loudly and publicly, and taking sharp actions against the predator to stop the actions—rather than by defending it and offering it a cable show, or electing it president), but by bringing this rampant sexism and harassment into the light, and showing that women (and James Van Der Beek, one of the disappointingly few courageous men speaking up) will no longer be silent in the face of institutionalized sexual misconduct and abuse. The tide for sanctioning the sexual-predator-in-chief may be turning.

Steps forward are incremental, and not always steady—some weeks it can be hard to see all the progress we are making. But remind yourself of the huge victories the resistance has already won, most decisively stopping every attempt to repeal the ACA, and comfort yourself that Donny’s ratings—sorry, approval numbers—are tanking faster than his loose hold on rationality, even in his rural base, and according to pollster Quinnipiac, 55% of voters believe he is not fit to be president.

Donald’s own actions will wind up bringing him down, as long as we continue holding him and all his defenders in the GOP accountable, and demanding our lawmakers do the same. To that end, on the Russian-investigation front, it’s looking like Bob Mueller is getting close to something that’s making the Donny John camp pretty uncomfortable: Carter Page—Don John’s former campaign manager who got benched after confabbing with Russian diplomat and top spy Sergei Kislyak last year (despite denying speaking with him) and who subsequently met with Putie’s top associates in Russia—has refused to testify before the Senate Intelligence panel in their Russia investigation. You know, like you do when you have something to hide and fear incriminating yourself and perhaps the leader of the free world. Reince Priebus spent an entire day with Mueller’s team, talking about who can only guess what…? Now’s a good time to call your MoCs and ask that they support the two bipartisan bills in Congress proposed to prevent Donald from firing Mueller as he tightens the noose around the man-baby-in-chief’s neck.

You’re not imagining how hard this battle can be—this administration is taking a deep emotional and mental toll on many Americans. But in a glimmer of hope for our collective future in these divided times, 55% of Americans now believe politicians should work more bipartisanly and embrace compromise. (You know, like you do in every single other relationship in your life.)

Hang in there, warriors. If all else fails, Hustler’s Larry Flynt is offering $10 million to anyone who can provide info leading to 45’s impeachment. Really.

OMG We are SO Tired of This Repeal BS! Here’s What We Need to Do

We know you are tired of beating back health care repeal bills. We are, too. We’ve been doing this for months, and it doesn’t get any easier.

The only saving grace is that the the Senate Republicans can only attempt to repeal the ACA through the gimmick called reconciliation until September 30. (And really, it’s September 29, since the Senate won’t be voting on Yom Kippur.) That’s only eight days away!

The time is short, so we have to work fast! Here’s what you can do right now to help stop this final attempt at repeal:

    1. Call Sens. Cornyn and Cruz at 202-224-3121 and tell them:
      My name is [Name] and I am one of your constituents. I want Senator [Cruz/Cornyn] to oppose Graham-Cassidy because it will take healthcare away from millions including children, people with disabilities seniors and even victims of natural disasters like Harvey and Irma. (If you also have a personal story to share, it really helps.)
    2. Sign up for a timeslot in our call relay! The goal is to get enough people signed up every day to make calls all day long so the DC office phones never stop ringing. This page will reset each day until we #KillTheBill. (You can still call whenever you want!)
    3. If you’ve called both Sens. Cornyn and Cruz and you’re asking yourself: what more can I do? How can I influence Republicans in red states who may be on the fence? You can sign up to call constituents in the target states and ask them to call THEIR senators!
    4. Join us this Sunday, Sept 24 at 8:30 a.m., for a Public Square Town Hall to take a last stand against ACA repeal and Medicaid cuts! Sens. Cruz and Cornyn will be just steps away from our event, speaking at the Texas Tribune Festival!
    5. Sign up here to get email and occasional text alerts for urgent actions.

BONUS: Submit comments to the Senate Finance Committee by Monday at noon! 

Thank you for supporting Texans who depend on the ACA and Medicaid for their healthcare!

How to Make a #WelcometoAustin Kit

The mayor announced that as many as 7,500 people could be coming to Austin soon, seeking shelter from Harvey’s wrath. There are a lot of ways to help, but one way is to provide a welcome kit for new arrivals. Like you, we’ve seen many lists of needed items, and different groups are collecting for different needs. But everyone needs something to get started with, and here’s a way to help.

The city is calling for 6,000 welcome kits to be delivered to Austin Disaster Recovery Network at their Hope Thrift Store location at

1122 E 51st Street
Austin, Texas 78723
Mon-Sat, 10AM-5PM

Prepping a welcome kit is not a totally inexpensive proposition, we get that. If you are in a position to give, that’s amazing, and it might also be a good project to share with a friend or another family. If you’re not, but you have time, Austin Disaster Recovery Network and many other organizations need volunteers. You can also make a contribution to ADRN or other local groups involved in Harvey relief.

See list of welcome kit contents below.

Welcome kits should include the following:


  • New Towel
  • New Washcloth
  • Soap
  • Tissue
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Feminine products
  • Shampoo
  • Comb
  • A note of encouragement


  • New Blanket
  • New Pillow
  • Wipes
  • Baby bottles/formula
  • Diapers
  • Baby food


  1. Get a reusable bag(s) or plastic container with a lid
  2. Fill the container with listed items
  3. Drop your donation off

PLUS: Austin Animal Center needs supplies for lost animals and pets of people in shelter:

  • 500 large crates
  • Used sheets and towels to line the crates

Donate to:
Austin Animal Center
7201 Levander Loop
Austin, TX 78702
11am to 7pm, 7 days a week

We’re Showing Up for Texas Today

Today we have a message for the president. Texans are hurting from Hurricane Harvey, and it will take us years to recover. While it will be some time before the full damage estimates and economic impact of the storm are assessed, we can be sure that our great state’s recovery will take a long time. But we’re Texans, and we’re not afraid of the hard work ahead of us.

Texas has never seen a storm like Harvey. It is epochal.

On his Texas visit today the president will likely take advantage of some photo opportunities, and speak some self-described perfect words. He will no doubt make promises and try to burnish his presidential image. But the real measure of his response will not be if he appears more presidential, but rather his administration’s accomplishments in the weeks, months, and years ahead. Will that response tackle not only the misfortunes of the affluent in this disaster, but also the misfortunes of those his administration has habitually targeted from its start?

It is difficult to reconcile the forthcoming pledges to rebuild impacted areas of Texas with the president’s pardon of Joe Arpaio as the storm was bearing down on Houston (for ratings, he said), his refusal to close border patrol checkpoints on evacuation routes out of South Texas, his destruction of some of our state’s most treasured natural gems to make way for his border wall, and his imminent repeal of DACA. That’s why we’re showing up for Texas today during the president’s visit.

There has never ever been a natural disaster in the U.S. during which public officials have had to clarify numerous times that those seeking shelter from the storm and  flooding will not be deported.

The test is simple. Will this administration start to take the threat of climate change seriously and begin tackling the technological and infrastructure challenges necessary to reduce the impact of future disasters like this one? Will this administration make sure that the poorest communities and communities of color – which suffer disparate impacts of natural disasters – recover from this storm? Or will those communities be offered only platitudes and empty gestures? Time will tell, but the recent actions of this administration make clear its steadfast refusal to extend the same consideration to those communities that it extends to the well-to-do. We are showing up today to make sure the administration knows we will not allow these concerns to be swept under the rug in the usual post-disaster niceties.

We also cannot forget that many other policies this administration pursues have negative impacts on our state, and when combined with the devastation from Harvey, further harm our state and our people.

The proposed border wall means Texans will lose their land through eminent domain, and fragile ecological regions will be decimated; even our own Senator John Cornyn’s recent border “security” bill doesn’t include funding for the president’s vision of this folly.

The nation’s largest inland port, Laredo, is on the front lines of the president’s Twitter war against against NAFTA. In 2015, Texas exported nearly $100 billion in goods to Mexico, and some 382,000 Texas jobs are linked to trade with Mexico. Targeting NAFTA hurts Texans and hurts our economy.

The president’s intention to rescind DACA, which is expected to happen this week, will have a disproportionate impact in Texas. Of the nearly 800,000 young adults whose DACA status has been approved, more than 25 percent of them live in Texas. They may have come to the U.S. as undocumented children through no fault of their own, but they have followed specific requirements to remain in the U.S. legally. As a result, they have graduated from colleges, started Texas businesses, bought homes, and built lives in Texas. For that they are being used to score political points by an administration determined to take a hard line on all immigrants regardless of status. He has used them as scapegoats. He lies about crime statistics to stigmatize a vulnerable group, and to stoke fear and hatred of all immigrants.

Trump’s policies will harm the Texas economy, which will be deeply strained during the long road of recovery from Harvey. We are already gearing up for the budget fights in Congress that could stifle the emergency relief we so desperately need.

Harvey has to be our top priority right now, as we anticipate thousands of evacuees coming to Austin. We have been and will continue supporting the rescuers and aid givers who need our volunteer hours and our financial and material assistance. But today we also need to send a message: Texans are great, resilient people, and we will do all we can to protect our state from policies that harm our residents and their livelihoods. 

Indivisible Austin
Wilco Indivisible
Indivisible TXLege
TX10 Indivisible
TX17 Indivisible
TX21 Indivisible
TX35 Indivisible


Our Commitment to Showing Up

Re-posted from TX21 Indivisible with minor edits and permission:

It hasn’t been a week since the Charlottesville terrorism, and it’s the only thing on some of our minds. Organizers in particular, many of whom have been recruiting people to show up to all the things for seven months running, are asking ourselves whether personal risk has been materially escalated or if it’s always been this high. In the end, every activist must choose for themselves how and when they will show up, and that has been true since forever. It just feels like the stakes are really high now.

With that in mind, and knowing that many of us are committed to showing up, please be sure to exercise caution and make safe choices. A few suggestions:

  • Read / re-read this protest safety document, authored by George Schorn.
  • If you can, take a protest safety course. Let us know when you see training opportunities!
  • If you’re worried about being publicly identified, google yourself preemptively and see what information is available about you on the internet. And then take steps to scrub whatever you wouldn’t want a rabid militia member to know about you.
  • Attend rallies and protests with a buddy. Stick together and keep each other calm, cool-headed, and safe.
  • Make sure that your phone battery is charged and, if possible, bring an extra battery so you can be connected at all times.
  • Let others who are not attending know where you’ll be, and when you should be home. Have a check-in plan for after the event.
  • If there’s an “alt-right” / white supremacist / hate protest and you opt out of the counter-protest, consider contributing to a fundraiser like this one, so you can protest with your dollars instead.
  • “Sheet-caking” as per Tina Fey’s recommendation has not been proven an effective activist technique, but you can decide for yourself.

With appreciation for everything you’ve done and continue to do to fight for progressive values for all,

TX21 Indivisible


Ask Michael Dell to Resign from the Manufacturing Council

***UPDATE August 18, 2017***

Michael Dell sent a statement to employees. While it decries “hatred, violence, racism, and terrorism racism,” it does not mention the manufacturing council or the president’s comments.

***UPDATE August 16, 2017***

Trump shut down the Manufacturing Council after several CEOs quit.

Michael Dell was not among those quitting. (A meeting of the council was scheduled for later in the day, and it was widely expected that the council would disband on its own.)

Michael Dell’s silence is confounding. It doesn’t matter that he is a major Republican donor; many Republicans have issued strong statements condemning hate groups and Trump’s tacit endorsement of those groups.

If Michael Dell wants to continue attracting talent from Austin’s diverse workforce, he needs to condemn the president’s statements, and explain his decision to stick with the council when other CEOs were fleeing. Because no one wants to work for a leader who lacks moral clarity.

***Original post below***

In January, Donald Trump announced the creation of a Manufacturing Council to work with the administration’s efforts on job creation. The council consists of business leaders from a broad range of industries. It’s a largely symbolic council; they seldom meet, and it’s unclear, what, if any jobs have been created as a result. But symbols matter — especially now, when hate groups draw inspiration from Nazism and other dark forces of history.

In the aftermath of the white supremacist domestic terrorism in #Charlottesville and the Trump administration’s inadequate response, a diverse coalition of activists are pressuring the members of the council to resign. Austin-area Indivisible groups will join those pressuring these CEOs.

We have decided to start local with Michael Dell. As CEOs resign, we will move on to others.

This is a campaign that needs social media to be successful! Companies have staff specifically tasked with monitoring social media, watching out for negative tweets and comments about their brand in real time. Join us in creating a tidal wave of demands that Michael Dell denounce this administration’s tolerance for bigotry and hatred, and its cozy relationship with white supremacists and anti-Semites, and resign from the Manufacturing Council.

What you can do:

  1. Tweet @Dell and @MichaelDell, asking Michael Dell to resign from this council. Retweet others who are doing the same. (Suggested hashtags: #QuitTheCouncil #DitchDell.)
  2. Visit the Dell Facebook page and write a post with your concerns, and send them a direct message, too.
  3. Call Dell at 1-800-624-9897 and demand that Michael Dell leave the Manufacturing Council.

Ben Wikler of MoveOn has an insightful Twitter thread about why social media pressure works on brands and companies:



Charlottesville Solidarity Vigils (will be updated as events unfold)

We’ve included vigils taking place in the Congressional districts that include Austin, though some locations are far afield. If you know of other vigils, please let us know! You can comment on this post directly and we’ll get a message. These vigils have been organized by different groups. We’ve included a link to an event page where applicable.

Sunday, August 13

7:30 p.m.
Bastrop County Courthouse Gazebo, 804 Pecan Street, Bastrop, TX 78602

8 p.m.
Brenham Courthouse, 100 E Main St # 304, Brenham, TX 77833

La Grange/Fayette County
8 p.m.
Fayette County Courthouse, 151 N. Washington St., Rm. 102. La Grange, Texas 78945

San Antonio
8 p.m.
Travis Park, 311 E Travis St, San Antonio, TX 78205

9 p.m.
City Hall, 301 W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701

Wednesday, August 16

Round Rock
7 p.m.
St. Paul AME Church
407 N. Sheppard St., Round Rock, Texas 78664

Saturday, August 19

8 p.m.
Blue Hole Regional Park
100 Blue Hole Ln, Wimberley, Texas 78676