US Bishops: Tax Law Should Support Families

Call for Policies That Relieve Poverty

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WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 22, 2010 ( The U.S. bishops are calling for tax policy that aids the poor and supports families and children.

Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, sent a letter Monday to the U.S. senators expressing these views.

On behalf of the conference, he said, «I urge Congress as it debates and decides future tax policy to give priority attention to poor families and their children.»

«Poverty is increasing in our nation,» the bishop pointed out. «How you structure taxes can make this moral challenge better or worse.»

He urged lawmakers «to strengthen and improve the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) making them better able to reduce and overcome poverty.»

«Helping families most in need will advance the common good and ultimately contribute to a better society for all of us,» Bishop Murphy affirmed.

He noted: «Too often the weak and vulnerable are not heard in the tax debate. 

«Poor children and their families have compelling needs with a priority claim on both our consciences and our economic choices. Yet they often lack powerful allies and influential advocates.»


«I strongly urge you to preserve the existing refundable provisions of the Child Tax Credit,» the prelate wrote.

«If Congress lets the Child Tax Credit provisions expire 600,000 more children will become poor and 4 million children currently living in poverty will fall into deeper poverty,» he reported.

«I urge you to act swiftly to avoid leaving so many low income families worse off during this time of economic distress,» the bishop exhorted.

He added that «it is equally important to retain current provisions of the Earned Income Tax Credit,» which «helps families with three or more children and reduces the ‘marriage penalty.'»

«Preserving this increase is important because of the economic challenges of raising a larger family in these difficult times,» Bishop Murphy stated.

He added, «Couples should never have to pay an economic penalty because they marry.»

«Unless Congress acts,» the prelate stated, «these vulnerable workers and their children will be left worse off than they are now.»

He concluded: «The ethical principles of all Americans lead us to recognize that we have a social and civic responsibility to stand with these families and children. 

«As a matter of justice, their needs have a prior claim that is well reflected in this legislation.»

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