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Hofstra Law Review

Abstract

State and local tax policy is one of the most important areas of public policy affecting the lives of the most powerless and vulnerable segments of the population - children from low income families. Focusing on the funding of primary and secondary education, especially in high poverty school districts, and the scheme for allocating the tax burden, this article empirically proves that all fifty states have unjust state and local tax policy, with thirty-one states inflicting an extreme level of injustice on poor children and their families. This article argues that the people in most states, as well as their political leaders, are compelled to reform state and local tax policy because they claim to practice Christianity or Judaism, and, in addition to being unjust under secular-based ethical models, their state and local tax policy also violates the moral principles of Judeo-Christian ethics. This article also argues that the moral context of a faith-based appeal offers the best chance to inspire people to support tax policy, requiring greater levels of sacrifice from wealthier Americans, a group that must be part of the reform effort in order to change the state and local tax picture from a vast sea of injustice to a tool of justice protecting our most vulnerable and powerless citizens.

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