A Moral Budget
I do not believe God has a specific tax plan that we are to follow and figure out. There is no ‘perfect tax system’. Tax policy is the means to achieve a goal. Many religious traditions echo a sentiment that the community, through government and other institutions, should do justice and love mercy. Justice should be the goal of the community, and our state budget and fiscal policy is the answer to how we achieve justice. The Ohio budget is a moral document, and we should look to see whether or not the needs of the sick, the hungry, and the vulnerable are met.
Governor Kasich has done well on some of these standards but not on others in his budget proposal. Medicaid Expansion, for example, is a step towards justice by caring for the sick and vulnerable. In addition, it will create many new jobs and allow others an opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty.
However, an income tax cut in this budget does not achieve our moral goals. We continue to grossly underfund the education of children—leaving the most vulnerable children in difficult situations. School psychologists, nurses, and counselors are often the first line of rescue for children, but with continued budget cuts these positions are becoming a rare blessing for districts with resources. Adult protective services continue to be underfunded, as well, leaving the elderly to suffer neglect and abuse. There are many places in this budget where a restoration of past investments would be dramatic at helping those in need and building up our communities.
Both Passover and Easter are times of hope for people of faith. A moral budget will invest in great services that will improve the quality of life for us all, provide resources to those in need, and dignity to those who are suffering. Ohio can adopt a moral budget that places a priority on those most in need, but it is up to all Ohioans to make this a priority.