WASHINGTON— As Congress prepares to reconcile the Houseof Representatives and Senate tax reform bills, Bishop Frank J. Dewane ofVenice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committeeon Domestic Justice and Human Development, insisted that "Congress shouldadvance a final tax reform bill only if it meets the key moral concerns . . ."
"According to Congress' own nonpartisan analysis, the TaxCuts and Jobs Act bills recently passed by the House and the Senate raise taxeson the poor and cut taxes on the rich, violating basic principles of justice,"wrote Bishop Dewane. "Congress hasproposed a web of wide-ranging and complex changes to the tax code, yet isapproaching the process at a pace that makes it difficult even for experts inthe impacted areas to analyze effects."
According to the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation,the Senate and House bills eventually increase taxes on taxpayers in the lowestbrackets, while at the same time maintaining tax cuts for higher earners,including the very wealthy. Bishop Dewane expressed support for positive proposalscontained in both the House and Senate bill, such as doubling the StandardDeduction, expansion of 529 savings plans, increases for deductions foreducator expenses, and the idea of expanding the child tax credit, though heurged a robust expansion that includes the refundable portions of the credit.
However, the Bishop highlighted serious problems thatremain in one or both of the proposed bills: elimination of personal exemptions, repeal ofthe Affordable Care Act's individual insurance mandate apart from broaderhealth care reform, and failure to include changes that will protect against asteep drop in charitable giving, among others.
"Policy that is good for workers, families who welcomelife, families who are struggling to reach (or stay in) the middle class, andthe very poor, has by design been a part of our tax code for years," notedBishop Dewane. "Any modifications tothese important priorities of our nation should only be made with a clearunderstanding and concern for the people who may least be able to bear thenegative consequences of new policy."
The full letter can be found at: https://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/federal-budget/upload/Tax-Conference-Letter-Congress-2017-12-06.pdf
Keywords: U.S. Conference of CatholicBishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and HumanDevelopment, tax reform bill, U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation, taxcuts, Standard Deduction, child tax credit, Affordable Care Act (ACA),charitable giving, tax payers, health care reform, families, poor
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