United Methodist Values and Tax Reform
John Hill, assistant general secretary for advocacy and organizing, addresses the tax reform legislation making its way through the U.S. Congress.
The U.S. Senate is about to consider a tax bill. This legislation would cause lasting damage to our economy and undermine programs that promote the common good.
Call your senators today and tell them to reject the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Dial 202.224.3121 and ask to speak to your senator. You have two senators, so make sure to call twice. Tell your senator to vote no on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and then work for sensible reforms that reflect our values of justice and the common good.
Taxes, The United Methodist Church says, are “necessary to provide adequate revenue that supports our shared commitment to a just society, including the maintenance of a safety net of services and opportunities for those most in need.” (Book of Resolutions, 4063)
The church further calls for a tax system that embodies three faithful principles:
- Protecting the Poor and Vulnerable: tax systems should be judged on their impact on children, low-income families, the elderly, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable populations;
- Community: tax systems should enable governments to provide for the needs of the common good; and
- Justice: tax systems should ensure the responsibilities of the nation’s common life are shared equitably and proportionally among its citizens. Laws should address inequalities not institutionalize them.
The current tax legislation falls short of all three principles.
Does the proposal protect the poor and vulnerable?
In a word, no.
The tax legislation includes a provision to repeal the individual mandate for health insurance that, according to estimates from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, would result in 13 million fewer people with insurance and increased premiums for millions more.
Does the proposal provide for the common good?
On top of cuts to health care, the proposal will leave the government severely underfunded. This will likely force deep cuts in programs that support low-income people and families.
Does the proposal equitably distribute the costs of government?
Not by any means.
The CBO estimates taxes will go up for anyone making less than $75,000 within a decade. In other words, taxes will go up for four out of five Americans. This plan will probably raise your taxes and the taxes of most people you know. Meanwhile, the proposal provides large cuts for the wealthiest citizens and corporations.
The current proposal fails to meet our values and we need to let Congress know.
Call your Senators now (202.224.3121) and ask them to oppose this regressive and irresponsible tax cut. Urge them instead to find bipartisan solutions that would reform the tax code and embody our shared values of community, justice and the protection of the most vulnerable among us.