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Hoosiers Encouraged to Take Closer Look at their Federal Tax Receipt

GRAPHIC: Tax Day events in Indiana coincide with a Global Day of Action on Military Spending.  Photo credit: National Priorities Project.
GRAPHIC: Tax Day events in Indiana coincide with a Global Day of Action on Military Spending. Photo credit: National Priorities Project.
April 15, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS - As Hoosiers mail off their checks to Uncle Sam today, many will have a chance to learn how their federal tax dollars are being used. According to Erin Polley, program coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee in Indiana, it's their fifth annual Tax Day of Action, and volunteers will be at the U.S. Post Office in Indianapolis letting people know that a disproportionate amount of tax dollars are spent on the military compared with basic human services.

"Tax Day can come and go relatively unnoticed by most people, but it is a really important part of our responsibility as citizens to pay taxes, and most of us are really unaware of where all that money goes," she declared.

Polley said that at a time when communities are still struggling to recover from the recession, 57 percent of all U.S. discretionary dollars go to the Pentagon.

According to the National Priorities Project, the average taxpayer in Indiana paid more than $8,700 in federal taxes, with the military receiving the largest amount of funding. Polley said they'll be passing out taxpayer receipts to Hoosiers so they can see the spending breakdown of their federal tax dollars.

"In all, federal taxpayers, a majority - over 50 cents of every dollar paid in taxes - goes towards the military and you can see from the receipt that other things like education and health care get a much smaller number."

Today's event in Indianapolis coincides with others around the nation and the world as part of a Global Day of Action on Military Spending.

Mary Zerkel, co-coordinator with the AFSC's national Wage Peace campaign, said billions of tax dollars are going to the Pentagon that could be used to strengthen communities and help those Americans in need of food or shelter. She said there is too much wasteful spending, including that on the F-35 warplane, which cost $1.5 trillion, double the original price, and is ten years behind schedule.

"Let's stop these budget gimmicks, let's stop all this wasted money, and let's start moving that money from spending it on wars and huge expensive weapons systems and use it to start funding things that we need for true security in our communities," Zerkel urged.

It's estimated that in 2012, global military spending amounted to $1.75 trillion.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IN