By: Allison Upchurch, Staff Reporter
On October 14, a gathering of the Regis community took place in the Mountain View Room as Catholic sisters from NETWORK’sNuns on the Bus initiative took a stop from their cross-country journey to host a town hall style presentation.
The nine sisters and their volunteers that hosted this event are part of an initiative to speak about the 2017 Tax Law that was put into place last December. Spotting the need for people to become more informed, the sisters are on a road trip called the Tax Justice Truth Tour, where they will make stops in major cities across the country to speak of the 2017 Tax Law and its effects on people in communities across the country. Their tour will conclude with a Fiesta for the Common Good on November 2 in Mar-a-Lago, Florida.
“We’re here for the common good,” Sister Simone Campbell said of the NETWORK’s goal of Nuns on the Bus. Sister Simone continued, “We’ve got to step away from the unpatriotic law of individualism and reclaim the faithful truth, as well as the constitutional truth, that is ‘We the People.’” She also mentioned that part of the group’s goal to serve for the common good was to advocate for “reasonable revenue for responsible programs.”
To illustrate how revenue plays out in today’s economy, the sisters put on a role-playing simulation to show that there is a gap in the increase of tax breaks and income for all five economic quintiles, which are the bottom 80% divided into four groups and the top 20%. They told the stories based on real people’s experiences and calculated each quintile’s overall growth in the last 36 years by giving each person a step for every 5% of growth achieved. The lowest quintile was able to move 1 ½ steps while the highest quintile was able to move 41+ steps.
The simulation also included the proposed changes of the 2017 tax law that affect nutritional assistance programs, Medicare and Medicaid operations, and low-income home energy assistance programs. All the quintiles that had people who depend on these programs had to take a step back. As a result of this, the lower quintiles all took steps back while the top quintile gained steps.
“It seems like there should be some new innovation, some new ideas about how we deal with the issues,” Sister Cambell said. “It’s not just about party because one of the problems, and one of the reasons why we are on the road, is because we’re lacking imagination.”
The floor was then open for community members to speak with one another in smaller groups, share opinions, and offer solutions to what people could do. “I think that we must act in community,” one audience member suggested. “It’s so important that we reach out to each other in hope, and vote.”
When the meeting was concluded, the sisters invited participants to sign their names on the physical bus that the sisters are using to travel across the country as a sign of solidarity in numbers. For more information, and to see where the sisters are heading next, click here to go to their website.