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Letter to Representative John Lewis supporting his Civil Rights Tax Relief Act

March 20, 2007

Dear Representative Lewis:

On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we would like to express our support for the Civil Rights Tax Relief Act (H.R. 1540). We thank you for your leadership in introducing this important legislation, which would eliminate excessive and unfair taxation of non-economic damages received by employees who have suffered unlawful discrimination.

As you know, employment discrimination cases are often difficult to settle because of the high cost of settlement, in many cases due to the unfair tax treatment of settlements or awards. These taxes drive up the cost of settlement of workplace-related cases for America' s businesses, while at the same time reducing recoveries for victims of discrimination. Current law also creates artificial and arbitrary distinctions between groups of taxpayers. In fact, currently, those who suffer non-economic damages as a result of unfair employment practices pay taxes, but those who suffer such damages as a result of physical injuries do not.

Your legislation will help address this untenable situation by excluding from gross income non-economic damages received as a result of unfair employment or civil rights practices. As a result, it will help both employers and employees by reducing significantly the costs of employment- and civil rights-related litigation and making it easier to settle cases.

Again, we thank you for your leadership in introducing this important legislation. We look forward to working with you on this and other critical civil rights issues.

Sincerely,

Diane Shust, Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody, Manager of Federal Advocacy