Norman Hill

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Norman Hill and was president emeritus of the A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI).

"Hill, 72, the husband of Community Board 4 member Velma Murphy Hill, was an organizer with the Congress of Racial Equality in the early 1960s and was CORE’s national program director until 1964 when he directed the civil rights demonstrations at the 1964 Republican National Convention. With A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin, Hill helped organize the A. Philip Randolph Institute in 1965. He was a founding member of the Bayard Rustin Fund and the Black Americans in Support of Israel Committee.

"Despite losing his sight in 2000, he continued to serve as president of the Randolph Institute until 2004". [1]

Tobacco Lobbyist

From October 1987, however, Hill as the President of the APRI worked also for the cigarette companies through the Tobacco Institute's Labor Management Committee under the lobbying direction of James Savarese. He wrote letters to congressmen and to the editor of the Washington Post, promoting the industry line. [2] [3]

The tobacco industry in the USA ran a network of cash-for-comments academic economists numbering about 150 overall. This support from organisations like the APRI was important to them, and through Hill, the A Philip Randolph Institute appears to have become entangled with this lobbying effort. They provided a slightly different slant by involving working-class peoples of color, so Hill was mainly paid to promote the "retrogressive cigarette taxes" line.

Higher cigarette taxes might proportionally effect the poor more than the rich (ie retrogressive), but they also stop more young people from becoming addicted. Cash-limited smokers are also induced to cut back or even to stop smoking, so the argument is clearly fallacious when health is taken into the account. The clear improvements in health, the funding of better welfare services, and the reduction in day-to-day living costs, are far more significant to the finances of working class families than they are to the wealthy.

So, far from being retrogressive, such taxes were highly supportive of the lower paid workers and the minorities. However the tobacco industry worked through Norm Hill and the APRI to played up the idea that any increase in cigarette taxes were a deliberate and direct attack by a callous-government on the down-trodden labor-force, and particularly on Afro-Americans and Hispanics.

There is no "smoking gun" evidence in the early documents that he was paid for this service, but later documents show special specific payments and a regular annual retainer which reached $20,000 in 1993 and later soared into the $40,000 pa region. See both the APRI general page and APRI Tobacco Documents Index.

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