Beliefs Politics

Minnesota and the Sinful Six

Six states has positively sinful tax policies, according to a business and law professor at the University of Alabama Law School.

According to this NY Times story, Professor Susan Pace Hamill, who has a divinity degree in addition to her secular credentials, has penned a book, “As Certain as Death” that seeks to document how the 50 states, in contravention of her view of biblical injunctions, do more to burden the poor and relieve the rich than vice versa.

According to the Times:

Professor Hamill asserted that 18 states seriously violate biblical principles in the way they tax and spend. She calls Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas “the sinful six” because they require the poor to pay a much larger share of their income than the rich while doing little to help the poor improve their lot.

The worst violator, in her view, is her own state of Alabama, which taxes its poor more than twice as heavily as its rich, while holding a tight rein on education spending.

The poorest fifth of Alabama families, with incomes under $13,000, pay state and local taxes that take almost 11 cents out of each dollar. The richest 1 percent, who make $229,000 or more, pay less than 4 cents out of each dollar they earn, according to Citizens for Tax Justice, an advocacy group whose numbers are generally considered trustworthy even by many of its opponents.

“The Bible commands that the law promote justice because human beings are not good enough to promote justice individually on their own,” she said. “To assume that voluntary charity will raise enough revenues to meet this standard is to deny the sin of greed.”

Hamill said her research found that just one state, Minnesota, came within reach of the principles she identified, because its tax system is only slightly regressive and it spends heavily on helping the poor, especially through public education

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