Taxes and the military: Where does our money go?

By Jason Boone
Monday, February 12, 2018

Where does our federal tax money go?

As Congress passes a budget resolution with a military spending increase that is twice the domestic spending increase, we face anew the reality that the taxes we pay contribute to a war machine that war machine that brings death and destruction across the globe.

Mennonites and other peacemakers have responded to this unsettling fact in various ways throughout the years. Some of us have withheld paying part or all of our taxes. Some of us, unsure as to the ramifications or efficacy of that avenue, have paid ours, but with unease.

As the perpetual war that began in 2001 continues with no end in sight, Peace and Justice Support Network encourages all peacemakers to reexamine how we contribute to this destruction through our tax dollars. Here are three ways anyone concerned about their tax dollars going to the military can help bring about change:

1. Get the facts.

Learn where your tax dollars go. Around 28 percent of tax dollars will go toward the military in 2018. You can dive deeper into the numbers at the website of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee and at the National Priorities Project.

2. Become a peace tax advocate.

Working with our friends at the National Peace Tax Fund, we are working to move forward legislation that would allow peacemakers and pacifists to designate our tax dollars away from military spending and toward humanitarian efforts.

The Peace Tax Fund Bill would affect the “current military” portion of the U.S. budget. The Peace Tax Fund Bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to permit taxpayers conscientiously opposed to participating in war to have their income, estate, or gift tax payments spent for non-military purposes only. The bill excuses no taxpayers from paying their full tax liability.

The full federal taxes of conscientious objectors would be placed into a special trust fund in the Treasury, called the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund. The Treasury would be allowed to spend this money on any governmental program that does not fulfill a military purpose.

The Peace Tax fund needs peacemakers to build long-term relationships with their local members of congress so that the Peace Tax Fund will become law. Find out how you can take part in this important work.

3. I choose peace!

While we can’t direct how our tax money is used (yet!), we can support peacemaking efforts in the United States and across the globe. The Peace and Justice Support Network is proud to announce the formation of the “I choose peace” fund. The fund will allow those concerned with ending the horrors of war and our participation in it via our tax dollars, a way to “offset” the money we contribute to the military by donating to peacemaking efforts.

Money donated to the "I choose peace" fund will be distributed to peace projects and organizations selected by the Peace and Justice Support Network based on the impact, scope and urgency of their work. Visit the "I choose peace" page to give and for other ways to get involved.





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