US Bishops Appeal for Tax Credits for Families

Express Concern Over Unemployment Rate

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WASHINGTON, D.C., DEC. 8, 2010 ( The U.S. bishops are urging congress to protect low-income families through continuing tax credit programs and unemployment compensation.

Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, California, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, sent a letter Monday to lawmakers with this appeal.

He expressed support for the «refundability and expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit particularly because of their effectiveness in helping families escape or prevent poverty and offer essential resources for raising children.»

If these programs are not maintained, the prelate noted, «low- and middle-income working families would see their economic security severely threatened.»

«To keep in place tax cuts for more affluent families while ending the tax help for those families in greatest need would be bad policy and unjust,» he asserted.

«For example,» the bishop continued, «a low-income family with two children, with one income at the minimum wage ($15,000 a year), stands to lose roughly $1,400 if the 2009 Child Tax Credit reform is eliminated.»

«In such an economic climate, a promise to raise taxes on no one must include low-income families,» he stated.

Bishop Blaire noted that on Friday, «the Department of Labor released a sobering unemployment report: The number of unemployed people climbed back over 15 million, and the rate rose to 9.8%.»

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the bishops’ conference, affirmed that the prelates «are deeply concerned with the current unemployment numbers, and the Church recognizes the need to assist those hit hardest by these economic times.»

Bishop Blaire continued in his letter, «The bishops believe strongly that the most effective antipoverty policy is decent work at decent wages; however in such an extraordinary economic circumstance, congress has a moral obligation to protect the life and dignity of unemployed workers and their families.»

«Therefore,» he stated, «I strongly urge that effective ways be found to assure continuing Emergency Unemployment Compensation to protect jobless workers and their families.»

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