An Argument For Tax Reform Based on Judeo-Christian Ethics
Susan Pace Hamill
University of Alabama School of Law
Alabama Law Review, Vol. 54, No. 1, 2002
This article applies the moral principles of Judeo-Christian ethics as a basis for urging the citzens of Alabama to insist that the state and local tax structure be reformed. This article first empirically documents that Alabama's state and local tax structure harshly burdens the poorest Alabamians through regressive income and sales taxes. This article then proves that Alabama's lowest property taxes per capita in the nation leaves the state and local governments unable to fund minimum needs, such as education, thereby denying the poorest Alabamians a minimum opportunity to improve their lives. An original empirical study of the relative property tax burdens of Alabama's different classes of property proves that timber, which covers 71% of Alabama's real property accounts for less than 2% of the property taxes, averaging less than $1 per acre. Because more than 90% of Alabamains practice Christianity, the moral principles of Judeo-Christian ethics are relevant. Using Old and New Testament scripture (and numerous scholarly works) this article shows how Alabama's tax structure violates these moral principles and then argues that the profession of faith of most Alabamians compells them to use their talents and resources to support tax reform. This article imposes the highest responsibilies on those with education and wealth, political leaders and finally religious leaders.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 113
Keywords: Tax, tax reform, income tax, sales tax, property tax, minimum opportunity, Judeo-Christian ethics, oppression of the poor
JEL Classification: H2, I2, I3Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: June 11, 2004
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