Editor’s Note: This guest post comes from Samuel Kang, General Counsel at the Greenlining Institute, who will be moderating the first of a series of Tides Learning Community calls focused on Connecting the Dots on the Budget Deal.

Remember the nasty national deficit debate back in August? The fight is not over. President Obama and Congress punted the issue to a committee charged with reducing the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next decade. The battle resumed shortly after Labor Day, when the 12 members of the Special Select Committee on Deficit Reduction – often referred to as the Gang of Twelve – met for the first time. The most critical questions the Gang of Twelve must address is how much more cuts can Americans bear? What are the alternatives to massive cuts?

In an effort to shed more light on this issue, Tides and the Greenlining Institute will co-host the first of a series of conference calls, “Beyond Politics: Navigating a New Reality,” with keynote speaker Ellen Nissenbaum, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs for the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities. The series will examine how the budget deficit will impact Americans and the nonprofit sector.

The Greenlining Institute’s report, Corporate America Untaxed, found that our nation loses $60 to $100 billion annually because America’s wealthiest companies avoid paying federal income taxes by manipulating corporate tax loopholes. While Americans on average pay over 20% of their income in federal taxes, General Electric and DuPont paid virtually nothing in income tax last year. If Congress closed the corporate tax loophole, the U.S. could collect up to $1 trillion in tax revenue between 2012 and 2021 without having to raise taxes for any individual.

The Gang of Twelve must develop a proposal that Congress will pass by the end of this year. Failure to do so will automatically trigger $1.2 trillion in spending cuts. The stakes are high and we’re just getting started.

Learn more about Tides’ Connecting the Dots on the Budget Deal series, presented in partnership with The Greenlining Institute, the Mitchell Kapor Foundation, Northern California Grantmakers, and the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.  The series kicks off on Wednesday, October 5 with the “Beyond Politics: Navigating a New Reality” overview call.  Click here to learn more and RSVP.

As The Greenlining Institute‘s General Counsel, Samuel S. Kang is responsible for crafting strategies that maximize the organization’s cooperative opportunities. He has led several successful campaigns impacting state and national policy. Sam engages directly with the heads of federal and state regulatory agencies, corporate executives, and community leaders. He also provides strategic guidance to members of the California legislature and US Congress.

Image via Flickr user cobalt123, used with Creative Commons license