Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, through its Institute for Public Affairs, joined with U.S. Senators John Ashcroft and Kay Bailey Hutchison in a Capitol Hill news conference to call for 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 a married couple filing jointly pays higher taxes than if the same couple with the same earnings paid their taxes separately.
Nathan Diament, director of the Union’s public policy arm, issued the following statement at today’s news conference:
American society expresses its public values through its laws, including its tax laws that often encourage or discourage behavior. It is hard to believe that in 1999 we must stand up and say that our laws should be structured in a manner that supports the critical institution of marriage.
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 tradition has similarly recognized the centrality of marriage and should support it with marriage-friendly public policy.
The UOJCA believes other family friendly tax code policies should be considered by Congress as well. These would include allowing for “income splitting” – allowing couples in which one parent stays home to care for children to allocate half the working spouse’s income to the stay-at-home parent, resulting in a lower tax rate.
We hope Congress will act on these issues very soon.