It’s been a bit of a quiet tax season this year. Send us any news coverage you see, so we can add it to our website! Here’s what’s crossed my computer in the last few weeks – both some clear calls to refuse to pay war taxes, and some calls for reducing the military budget and redirecting these funds elsewhere.
War Resisters League released the fiscal year 2019 pie chart, and things are looking worse this year for war spending than last. Although the percentage of your income tax dollar that goes to military spending has gone down from 48% to 47%, the total amount went up, from $1.45 to $1.5 trillion. Every pie chart includes information about NWTRCC. It’s a great resource for tax season outreach!
The president’s FY2019 budget was greeted with “dead on arrival” by politicians. Congress had just passed a spending bill that overrode it, but one thing Congress and the president always agree on: more military spending. And worse, the budget message promises “a more lethal force,” adding more victims to the hundreds of thousands — military and civilians — killed as a result of U.S. wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It’s also a more lethal budget with big cuts to food stamps, healthcare, legal protection for the poor, low income housing, employment training, environmental protection, parks, renewable energy, and more.
Once Mears’ U.S. tour was set up, Penner says, 1040 for Peace got involved on the local level.
To support a reduction in government military spending, that group advocates making a statement of “symbolic tax resistance” by underpaying one’s federal taxes by $10.40.
“I think the issues that the play raises are as relevant and urgent today as they were 100 years ago,” Penner says. “I’d like to have the people in the audience consider how life would be different — what would the world be like — if we had thought of other ways to address the issues of war and militarism for the last hundred years.”
This should be a moment of both opportunity and concern for Mennonites. First, we need to seize this moment to demand protection for our own religious beliefs. Many Mennonites believe that payment of taxes to support war is sinful. We should demand that the administration protect our religious beliefs and create a peace tax fund. Tax resisters should challenge IRS collections in court, and call upon Sessions to come to their aid. Mennonites who are involved in the sanctuary movement need to call on Sessions to protect them as they act on their religious beliefs. If Christian organizations that oppose contraception are granted an exception from the law requiring contraceptive coverage, why should Christians who welcome immigrants not also be excused from compliance with laws against harboring aliens? And Christians who believe that the government should not kill should not be jailed for refusing to participate in death penalty proceedings.
It has been observed that our budget is a moral document. Consider alternatives to the massive military waste, fraud, abuse, and suffering. Let’s focus on well-being rather than violent solutions. Let’s redirect some [of] our war taxes to constructive local outcomes.