War-tax resisters from the Harrisonburg, Va., area gathered April 16 to publicly donate $2,370 to organizations working for peace and to meet human needs.
Of this money, $1,070 came from funds that conscientious objectors to military taxation redirected from their federal taxes.
The event, one of more than 40 across the U.S. near the income tax deadline, highlighted the violence done by tax dollars when spent on war and the harm done by denying funds to social and environmental programs.
Calling themselves Shenandoah Valley Taxes for Peace, several members of Shalom Mennonite Congregation and Community Mennonite Church collectively redirected their resisted war taxes. Others who owed no taxes joined with donations in solidarity.
Recipients included Mennonite Central Committee and the Mennonite Church USA Peace Tax Fund.
The U.S. military budget exceeds that of the next 11 highest countries’ military budgets combined. President Biden has requested $813 billion in military spending in the fiscal year 2023 budget, exceeding the current military budget by $31 billion. The $31 billion increase in military spending is double the amount Congress recently refused to spend on continuing testing, treatment and vaccines for COVID-19, which has killed nearly 1 million Americans.
Members of Shenandoah Valley Taxes for Peace believe military violence occurs when budget priorities deprive communities of resources for education, healthcare, housing and food.