Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, through its Institute for Public Affairs, wrote to members of the House Ways & Means Committee as well as the Director of The White House Office of Management & Budget, Jacob Lew, to encourage the elimination the unfair treatment of married couples by the federal tax code.
Currently, public policy, as embodied by the federal tax code, treats married couples unfavorably as compared to unmarried couples. This is reflected in the simple fact that many married couples filing jointly pays higher taxes than if the same couple with the same earnings paid their taxes separately. This “penalty” hits hard-working, lower to middle income families, with two working parents when the higher-earner of which makes between $20,000 and $75,000 per year.
The letter sent to members of the House’s tax writing committee on the eve of a session marking up the “Marriage Tax Penalty Relief Act of 2000” stated that “unequal treatment by our tax code is unacceptable in an era where America’s public policies must do all they can to encourage and strengthen traditional marriage and family life.” The letter signed by Orthodox Union president Mandell Ganchrow and IPA director Nathan Diament, also noted that “in the Jewish tradition, the institution of marriage is recognized as so significant and so central to any society that it is referred to as kiddushin, or ‘holiness.’ America’s traditionally recognized the centrality of marriage as well, and should support it with marriage-friendly public policy.”
In his State of the Union Address last week, President Clinton endorsed the notion of rolling back the marriage penalty, although limited the number of families that would receive relief through his proposal; the Republican proposal would ensure that no married couple pays such a penalty. The Orthodox Union’s letters urged House Republicans and the White House to produce a result on this front “with all deliberate speed.”