Resisting war taxesBy Stan Bohn Newton, Kan.
Five Mennonites participated in the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Council’s conference on redirecting income taxes to humanitarian causes on Nov. 4-6 in Kansas City. About 50 percent of income taxes are used for wars, past and present. Some shared of dealing with tax courts, threatening letters from the IRS and one person’s revelation that the phrase “unilateral disarmament” meant that ending the support of war (with taxes) starts with me.
Two decisions made by the council were:
To support a campaign inviting people to redirect either a symbolic amount ($1 or $10) or a percentage of their income tax to relief for war victims.
To take posters protesting the construction of a huge 185-acre nuclear bomb parts plant to a site on the south side of Kansas City, Mo., and point to the expenditure in the 2012 federal budget of $125 billion for strategic delivery and $88 billion for modernization of nuclear weapons in the next 10 years. Signs against war taxes were hung on a fence around the site, and five people were arrested for trespassing.
The U.S. has about 10,000 nuclear bombs that are far more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb. From 1940 to 1996, $5.6 trillion (a conservative estimate from a 1998 Brookings Institution study) has been spent on nuclear weapons. The Kansas City plant costs are projected at $1.2 billion, which otherwise could provide many with food and shelter.
Clusters of Mennonite war-tax protesters exist around the nation. Anyone is welcome to the next meeting of the Newton Peace Tax group at 3:30 p.m. Jan. 12. For details call Stan Bohn, 316-283-6075.
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