Written by Barb Powell
The United Church of Christ has frequently called for a system of taxation that is fair and just. General Synod 29, meeting this week in Long Beach, Calif., added its voice by calling for a tax system that addresses current flaws in order to make taxation “fair, adequate and equitable.”
The resolution “Advocating For Tax Reform As Christian Stewardship And Public Duty” advocates for a progressive tax system that “raises sufficient revenue for society’s needs, is progressive, and is fair, without loopholes and other possibilities for tax evasion.”
“It is time for us to engage and to act,” said Sharon Davis, a delegate from the Illinois Conference.
The resolution asks all settings of the church to support a tax on financial transactions to reduce speculation, taxing capital gains and “carried interest” at the same rate as salaries, a stronger estate tax to capture transferred wealth, and reformation of corporate income taxes. It also asks the church’s national staff to “explore effectiveness and implications of carbon taxes.”
Previous General Synods –– in 1969, 1975, 2003 and 2005 –– also addressed taxation by acknowledging our “shared responsibility” to fund programs which benefit all citizens.
While the U.S. tax rate is progressive, the reality is far different, says Edith Rasell, a staff member in UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries. Those with higher incomes often have more opportunities to shield income through deductions and credits, primarily from capital gains, she says.
According to the resolution, “A good tax system is essential for an equitable and well-functioning society.”