The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) came out against the “Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017” that recently passed in the House of Representatives and is now moving on to the Senate.

We at Pax Christi USA encourage you to educate yourself about this unconscionable tax plan, to call your Senator and advocate against it, and to thank your bishop, as as a member of the USCCB, for coming out against the “Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017.”

The USCCB wrote letters to the House of Representatives and the Senate about the tax bill, and here is an overview with quotes and information taken directly from these USCCB documents:

The bishops find this tax bill will not care for the poor:

  • Raises taxes on the poor and cuts taxes for the wealthy
  • Tax increases will take place for people who only make $10,000 – $20,000 and $20,000 – $40,000 a year while people who make over $1 million will receive cuts.

Tax provisions for low-income, vulnerable people being eliminated:

  • Work Opportunity Tax Credit – incentivizes hiring veterans, people in poverty, and people who are disabled.
  • Tax deductions for tuition and student loans
  • Income tax credit for those who retired on disability
  • Tax incentives for employers who offer moving expenses

The bishops find this tax bill does not strengthen families since it:

  • Removes the adoption tax credit
  • Repeals adoption assistance programs, even for children with special needs
  • Some larger families will pay more taxes
  • Eliminates medical expenses deduction for families dealing with chronic illness
  • Eliminates employer incentives for child care
  • Repeals Mortgage tax credit for first-time home buyers at certain income levels
  • Makes it more difficult for immigrant taxpayers to receive the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit

The tax code will no longer be progressive. A progressive tax code taxes those at lower-income at a lower percentage and those at a higher-income at a higher percentage. Pope St. John XXIII wrote that a progressive tax code is required by “justice and equity.”

Ways the tax code will no longer be progressive:

  • Repeals the estate tax – applies to singles who have wealth of $5.5 million or more and married couples who have wealth of $11 million or more
  • Eliminates the Alternative Minimum Tax – designed to prevent high-income earners from avoiding tax liability through loopholes

The bishops find this tax bill is unjust and does not respect the common good:

  • Not taxing the wealthy increase our national deficit to $1.5 trillion over ten years, which will then be used as political fodder to cut necessary social safety net programs
  • Trickle-down economics is not sufficient
  • Economic growth from corporate tax cuts cannot be guaranteed
  • Charitable deductions will increasingly be a benefit for only high-income families