Advance Final Tax Reform Bill Only if it Meets Key Moral Concerns, Says USCCB Chairman

December 6, 2017
By SS. Peter and Paul

WASHINGTON— As Congress prepares to reconcile the House
of Representatives and Senate tax reform bills, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of
Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee
on Domestic Justice and Human Development, insisted that “Congress should
advance a final tax reform bill only if it meets the key moral concerns . . .”

“According to Congress’ own nonpartisan analysis, the Tax
Cuts and Jobs Act bills recently passed by the House and the Senate raise taxes
on the poor and cut taxes on the rich, violating basic principles of justice,”
wrote Bishop Dewane. “Congress has
proposed a web of wide-ranging and complex changes to the tax code, yet is
approaching the process at a pace that makes it difficult even for experts in
the 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 lowest
brackets, while at the same time maintaining tax cuts for higher earners,
including the very wealthy. Bishop Dewane expressed support for positive proposals
contained in both the House and Senate bill, such as doubling the Standard
Deduction, expansion of 529 savings plans, increases for deductions for
educator expenses, and the idea of expanding the child tax credit, though he
urged a robust expansion that includes the refundable portions of the credit.

However, the Bishop highlighted serious problems that
remain in one or both of the proposed bills: elimination of personal exemptions, repeal of
the Affordable Care Act’s individual insurance mandate apart from broader
health care reform, and failure to include changes that will protect against a
steep drop in charitable giving, among others.

“Policy that is good for workers, families who welcome
life, families who are struggling to reach (or stay in) the middle class, and
the very poor, has by design been a part of our tax code for years,” noted
Bishop Dewane. “Any modifications to
these important priorities of our nation should only be made with a clear
understanding and concern for the people who may least be able to bear the
negative consequences of new policy.”

The full letter can be found at:

Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic
Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human
Development, tax reform bill, U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation, tax
cuts, Standard Deduction, child tax credit, Affordable Care Act (ACA),
charitable giving, tax payers, health care reform, families, poor


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Source:: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops