Written by Anthony Moujaes
The United Church of Christ General Synod has repeatedly advocated for a reasonable U.S. tax system that raises national revenue by placing the heaviest burden on those with more money. Responding to constant changes to the United States tax code, the UCC Justice and Witness Ministries is asking delegates at General Synod 2013 to pass a resolution calling on all settings of the church to advocate, pray and work toward a tax system that is progressive, fair and redistributive for the benefit of all American citizens.
The resolution, which will go before delegates when they gather in Long Beach, Calif., from June 28-July 2, seeks to reiterate and update the position of General Synod's position on federal taxes.
"The General Synod has long supported a system of progressive taxation that provides sufficient revenue for the nation's needs and the common good," said Edith Rasell, the UCC's minister for economic justice. "This resolution reiterates this position and updates some of the specifics to address a number of current issues in tax reform."
A progressive tax places a larger tax rate on individuals with higher incomes, so the higher a person's income, the higher the percentage they pay in taxes.
Among the ways the resolution calls for taxes that are more fair; A financial transaction tax; stronger taxes on estates; reform of the corporate income tax to boost revenue, close loopholes and discourage sending American jobs overseas; and an end to reduced rates on capital gains taxes (profits from the sale of items such as stocks, bonds, precious metals and property).
Previous General Synods have called for tax reform in 1969, 1975, 2003, and 2005. The newest resolution adds specific statements to address taxes on financial transactions, estates and "carried interest." Carried interest, such as income earned by hedge fund managers, is taxed at a rate lower than other earned incomes.
Estate taxes and corporate taxes have been weakened because of loopholes, Rasell said. The resolution states that in the 1950s, corporate taxes totaled 4.8 percent of the national income, but the number has slipped so much that in the last three decades the number is between 1.7 and 1.9 percent. Another flaw in the corporate tax code encourages comapies to create jobs are outside the U.S.
Rasell said she will provide the committee assigned to hear the resolution,and make the appropriate recomendation to the full Synod, with a resource on tax reform from a faith perspective.
"A good tax system raises sufficient revenue for society's needs, is progressive where the burden falls most heavily on those with more money, and is fair, without loopholes and other possibilities for tax evasion," the resolution states.