The Iowa Catholic Conference offers these comments on House Study Bill 671 based on the principles of taxation found in Catholic social teaching.
There are two basic moral principles that should govern the collection and distribution of taxes as they benefit the State of Iowa and its people.
Legislators should practice distributive justice wisely, so that all people can share in the benefits of life in society, for example, education, health care, protection of the environment and security. There should be a special concern for the poor and vulnerable who cannot provide themselves with what is needed to live in dignity. The Iowa Catholic Conference supports raising adequate revenues for a strong social safety net.
Taxpayers should practice contributive justice, cooperating with the government to contribute to the common good by paying their fair share of taxes. Through contributions collected by taxes, we share the blessings that God has given us so that these resources can be used for the good of all. A just and equitable system of taxation ensures that everyone contributes to society according to his or her ability to pay.
Levying and paying taxes are essential acts of government and of mutual dependence. But when all are mindful of the needs of all, then the rights and dignity of each individual are safeguarded.
Regarding provisions of the bill:
Taxes Will Be Lowered By More Than $53 Million in the First Year and $1.7 Billion Over Five Years: Will this allow adequate revenues for public education, Medicaid, public safety, a strong safety net, and other acts of government essential to the common good? In addition, a greater share of taxes paid will be shifted from the income tax to the sales tax, which typically falls more heavily on lower-income people.
529 Plans: The bill couples with federal tax law changes and benefits parents who pay nonpublic K-12 tuition. This provision should be retained.