Louisiana faith leaders hand-delivered a letter to Gov. Bobby Jindal this morning, denouncing his proposal to increase sales tax by 47 percent as “unjust” and “regressive.”
The state already has one of the most disproportionate tax systems in the country, with low- and middle-income families paying more than twice the rate in taxes as families whose income totals more than $1 million per year. To raise the sales tax even higher, say leaders, would deal a crushing blow to the poor.
“[W]e are concerned that your plan proposes to use the increased revenue generated by a heavier burden on poor and moderate income families,” the letter reads, “not to fund any of the important needs and services our State faces, but to decrease the tax burden for those members of our community who are most blessed with wealth and resources. That … is unacceptable.”
To date, more than 250 leaders from nearly every major denomination in the state have signed the letter, which urges the governor to consider several guiding principals for an “ethical framework” on tax legislation — namely, restricting higher sales taxes and directing state revenue towards public services and infrastructure, rather than “redistributing tax burden from one group to another.”
The United Faith Community of Louisiana coalition, comprised of bishops, reverends, deacons and rabbis from Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal, and Jewish traditions across the state, hand-delivered the letter in the lobby of the State Capitol this morning at 10 a.m.
“We serve in many different faith traditions, across a broad spectrum of people and communities in this State,” states the letter. “As diverse as these traditions may be, we find unity around a few fundamental ethical principles: fairness, a concern for the least of these and an obligation to make our voices heard when matters of justice are at stake.”
Read the full letter here.
Catherine Woodiwiss is Associate Web Editor at Sojourners.