2022 Legislative Session Action Alert #1

2022 Legislative Session Action Alert #1

January 18, 2022

Welcome to the First Alert of the 2022 Iowa Legislative Session, brought to you by the Legislative Advocacy Team of the Iowa Conference of The United Methodist Church. We hope you are able to participate in our virtual 2022 Advocacy Day on Monday, January 24, from 9 a.m. to Noon, in coordination with Iowa Conference United Methodist Women. Please register here.

Because of the rules that regulate how the Legislature operates, legislative bills are being introduced.  We have seen few bills introduced since the beginning of the 2022 Iowa Legislative Session.    

This is the second session of the 2021-2022 General Assembly of the Iowa Legislature, so all the bills that survived last year but were not debated, are eligible for consideration this year.  We are reviewing these bills and will report on them next week along with some new bills introduced.

Since the Republicans have indicated a serious and thorough study of tax reform this year, we are including the United Methodist Church’s Resolution on Tax Reform Principles for your consideration and for sharing with your legislators (note—capitalization is our emphasis).   

RESOLUTION 4063 - A CALL FOR JUST TAX STRUCTURES
“The Law of Moses expresses God’s expectation that society should care for its most vulnerable members both by refraining from exploiting them and by providing for their basic needs. 

In the early church, all participants brought their gifts to the Community with the understanding that everything should be shared according to everyone’s needs (Acts 4:32-35)…the principle/value remains valid to the Christian understanding of living in community with each other.

In today’s world, we recognize and affirm the vital role of governments in ordering society and enabling us to do together that which none of us could do alone. Tax laws enable us to embody our Judeo-Christian values of equal opportunity for all and care for the poor. They are necessary to provide adequate revenue that supports our shared commitment to a just society, including the maintenance of a safety net of services and opportunities for those most in need.

Taxation allows us to create systems that prevent our societies from descending into the tempting sin of greed. Unfortunately, current tax structures often have failed to provide sufficient revenue for the health, safety, educational, and welfare needs of our communities. Recent economic research ties unregulated market forces to increased inequality, justifying government tax interventions to more equitably distribute economic gains.

Given the clear injustice of many tax structures and the growing disparity between rich and poor, we affirm the need to reform these tax structures. Our Social Principles state that our support for “efforts to revise tax structures and to eliminate governmental support programs that now benefit the wealthy at the expense of other persons.”

PRINCIPLES FOR TAX REFORM
The United Methodist Church calls for changes in current tax systems to better embody the following faithful principles:

  1. PROTECTING THE POOR AND VULNERABLE: All tax decisions must be judged by their impact on children, low-income families, the elderly, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable populations. Taxes should be applied to a market activity that causes cost upon others or upon public good (for example, clean air). Additional taxes should be levied on products that are damaging, such as tobacco, alcohol, greenhouse gas emissions, and weapons. 
  2. COMMUNITY: Systems should strengthen and uphold the values of our common life together. Tax and revenue systems enable governments to provide for the needs of the common good and should not give privilege to wealth earned through investment over wealth earned by labor.
  3. JUSTICE: Each government should ensure that both the burdens and the benefits of a nation’s common life are shared equitably and proportionally among its citizens. Laws should address inequalities not institutionalize them.                                                                                

IDENTIFY YOUR PRIORITIES

The United Methodist Church continues its witness of concern for social justice. These priorities for 2022 reflect the official positions of United Methodists.  
                                                                         
The Resident Bishop, Laurie Haller, and the Legislative Advocacy Team concur that these social justice priorities deserve the careful consideration and support by the 2022 session of the Iowa Legislature.
The five priority concerns for 2022 of the United Methodist Church are:

  1. Environment
  2. Gun Violence
  3. Poverty
  4. Criminal Justice
  5. Mental Health

Underlying and intersecting with each of these priorities is the issue of Racism in our society.

In response to the threat of bombing Burns United Methodist Church (a historically black congregation) on Sunday, January 9, 2022, our Bishop Laurie Haller wrote a letter to all Iowa United Methodists in which she said, “Racism has rightly been called America’s original sin, sin that continues to breed acts and attitudes of hatred.” Our Social Principles remind us that “We define racial discrimination as the disparate treatment and lack of full access and equity in resources, opportunities, and participation in the Church and in society based on race or ethnicity.”  We commit ourselves to actions of anti-racism in all areas and aspects of our society and of our priorities.

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Advocacy Team:
Brian Carter - briancar@dwx.com
Rita Carter - ritaac@mchsi.com
Gary Nims - gary.nims@gmail.com
Consultant:
Robert Mulqueen - robert.mulqueen@gmail.com
UMW Liaison:
Deb Streff - debstreff@gmail.com