Who Would Jesus Tax?


Professor Cites Bible in Faulting Tax Policies: a law professor and former seminarian in Alabama finds that biblical principles and the current soak-the-poor tax system of the state of Alabama are not in accordance:

"She calls Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas 'the sinful six' because they require the poor to pay a much larger share of their income than the rich while doing little to help the poor improve their lot. The worst violator, in her view, is her own state of Alabama, which taxes its poor more than twice as heavily as its rich, while holding a tight rein on education spending . . . . The poorest fifth of Alabama families, with incomes under $13,000, pay state and local taxes that take almost 11 cents out of each dollar. The richest 1 percent, who make $229,000 or more, pay less than 4 cents out of each dollar they earn, according to Citizens for Tax Justice, an advocacy group whose numbers are generally considered trustworthy even by many of its opponents. Professor Hamill said what first drew her to the issue of fiscal policy and biblical principles was learning that Alabama timber companies, which own more than two-thirds of the land in the state, pay an annual property tax of only about 75 cents an acre."

Alabama had a vote on this a few year's back, on a proposal to change the tax system, in particular by lowering the food and medicine levy and adjusting rates for upper incomes and for corporate holdings. The governor had been persuaded by Hamill and others, but his campaign, while based in Christian rhetoric, failed, in part because the evangelicals rejected it in large numbers. I was thinking of this as I've been reading any number of papers and articles recently tracing the interrelationship of business development in the Sunbelt and conservative Christianity in the post World War II era. They help to explain why Hamill's tax theology and concrete proposals emanating from it face formidable obstacles.


Anonymous said…
As a resident of Alabama, I find it appalling that there is a 9% sales tax on food (combined city of Mobile and state tax). [Not that I want everything else to be taxed at 9% either!]. All I can do is render unto Caesar...

On the other hand, at least we have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country due to an influx of business. There are pros and cons to most systems of taxation.

Darren Grem can surely help us out with some thoughts on this topic!
Anonymous said…
Can you link us up to one or two of those articles "tracing the interrelationship of business development in the Sunbelt and conservative Christianity in the post World War II era?" I'd be very interested to read them!

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