Lots of us will have our attention focused on taxes over the next couple of weeks. This focus provides a unique opportunity for faith communities to help North Carolinians make the connection between paying taxes and living out our values. Paying taxes allows us to invest in the Common Good and build a just economy that supports opportunity for everyone regardless of the circumstances into which they were born. Moreover, if people are taxed fairly so that each of us contributes according to our ability, it will help to ensure that income inequality does not go unchecked and that everyone can get ahead.
The North Carolina Council of Churches is encouraging congregations to observe a Tax Day Sabbath, either on April 12 or April 19, the two Sundays closest to the April 15 tax deadline, or another upcoming Sunday. We hope your faith community will consider how an adequate and fair tax system supports opportunity by enabling us to invest in education, public health and stewardship of our natural resources. You might consider delivering a sermon on the ways in which a fair and adequate tax system reflects the best of our faith traditions. You might include a bulletin insert or provide handouts on information tables. Or your Christian education program might focus on faith and fair taxation that Sunday.
Working with the NC Budget & Tax Center, we have developed resources to help you observe a Tax Day Sabbath in the way that works for you and your congregation. I hope these resources will help you to examine the issues through your faith lens and to explore how to support current efforts to ensure North Carolina’s tax code is fair and adequate.
- Budget & Tax Center Mini-toolkit on Taxes: This guide provides a list of resources on the recent tax changes that have made North Carolina’s tax code more upside-down and reduced the ability of the state to make critical investments in public services.
- NC Council of Churches, From Jerusalem to Jericho: Christian Witness on the Tax Sustained Road: This compelling 13-page document draws current tax policies into conversation with Scripture passages, Church theologians, and denominational statements.
- NC Council of Churches Lectionary Worship Resources: Helpful information for preaching about tax fairness.
- Action Opportunity: Collect Loaves & Fishes postcards from your congregants to send to legislators calling for a moral budget sustained by a sound and fair tax system.
- Sample Bulletin Announcement: On April 12, our congregation will reflect on the importance of paying taxes to building a just economy that works for everyone not just a select few. Here are some facts to consider: 1) The vast majority of the total tax cuts in 2013 went to the top 5 percent of taxpayers and profitable corporations; 2) Nearly 1 million North Carolinians who work at low-wage jobs lost a tax credit that helps them make ends meet and support their children’s healthy development; and 3) Tax cuts are not a proven strategy to grow our economy and are resulting in fewer dollars for the state to invest in public schools and other building blocks of shared prosperity. To find out more, visit www.nctaxshift.org.
- Specifics on the 2015 Tax & Budget Debate in NC: North Carolina leaders enacted a tax cut package in 2013 that reduces our state’s ability to invest in families and communities by $1 billion per year. The tax plan, which heavily favors wealthy taxpayers, has had many consequences not the least of which is the loss of a state Earned Income Tax Credit by families this April. For more on what’s happening right now please visit the Budget & Tax Center.