Posted at 12:50 PM on July 12, 2011
by Paul Tosto
From MPR News reporter Tim Pugmire:
Leaders of several religious faiths gathered outside the State Capitol today to call for an end to the government shutdown and to endorse a budget solution that includes new tax revenue.
Members of the clergy group ISAIAH said state leaders must ask those who have done well to make small financial sacrifices. The Reverend Grant Stevenson, president of ISAIAH, said Minnesota is a wealthy state, but that wealth is not shared equally. Stevenson said Gov. Mark Dayton's proposal to raise income taxes on top earners is a good start toward equity.
"The poverty that we're facing, or the deficit that we're facing is a moral deficit. It's a deficit of clarity on our we brothers and sisters? Are we in this together or are we creating a place where we're really kind of in it for ourselves."
Stevenson said ISAIAH will continue pushing the equity issue, even beyond the government shutdown. About 200 clergy members have signed a letter to state leaders in support of new revenue.
UPDATE: Here's video from The Uptake:
The clergy wants more revenue? OK, here's a solution: Tax Clergy income. They don't pay income tax, many that's why they find it so easy to ask others to ante up.
@Duke: Actually, that's incorrect. Clergy do pay income taxes on their salary. They do not pay income taxes on their housing allowances. As a future clergy person myself, and as one who supports the work of ISAIAH, I would be glad to pay more to live in a state that cares for its most vulnerable citizens. To that end, I would support tax reform that treats clergy more like regular workers.
Though something tells me that making clergy pay income taxes on their modest housing allowances isn't going to create the kind of revenue that's needed right now. It's not like clergy are raking in the dough.
yes, Clergy do pay income tax, both State and Federal.
Now that the facts are shared regarding clergy paying taxes on salaries, how about getting back to the message? It's troubling when the response is so often not about content but about maligning the speaker. The question remains: Are we in this together?