Reform Rabbis Urge Federal Tax Boost Only for Fight Against Poverty

The Central Conference of American Rabbis, a consistent foe of United States involvement in Vietnam, said in its annual message for Race Relations Sabbath yesterday that Americans should support a federal tax increase only if such additional revenue was allocated to the elimination of slums and provision of adequate housing, Jobs and educational opportunities for the Negro and other minorities. President Johnson has proposed a 10 percent income tax surcharge to halt inflation.

The CCAR said that the member Reform rabbis would not favor a tax increase for the war in Vietnam, adding that while it commended President Johnson for his job-training and civil rights recommendations, “we are disturbed at the on-going drain of the national treasury because of our Vietnam policy.” The cause of democracy, the statement said “would be better served by throwing our best efforts into eliminating these domestic crises.” The Reform rabbis indicated that only “massive investment and involvement” to relieve large-scale unemployment and provide adequate school facilities and housing, rather than a “gradualist” approach would meet the needs of the Negro, adding that “it may be necessary to cut our defense budget” for that purpose.

The statement also suggested “persuasive dialogue” in the community to achieve the desired goals for the Negro” instead of “national mobilizations and picketing of city halls.” Protestant, Catholic and Jewish clergymen were urged to combine forces to impress employers, unions and Job agencies to find jobs for Negroes. The Reform rabbis also urged school boards, PTAs and taxpayer groups to understand the need to provide “the budget for integrated education that is also quality education.”

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