Taxes are “an often misunderstood” tool of social justice and should not be seen as an example of a government overstepping its powers, Pope Francis told an audience of Italian business leaders on Monday.
The Argentine-born pope spoke ahead of a general election on Sept. 25 in Italy, a country noted for endemic tax evasion, where a right-wing coalition promising major tax cuts is on course for a clear victory.
“What taxes and duties are in the modern world and democracies is very important, [they are] an often misunderstood form of sharing,” Francis told members of Confindustria, Italy’s main business lobby.
In his speech, the pope also urged business leaders to share their wealth in other ways, including through charity, sticking to fair wage policies and creating new jobs, particularly for young people.
“Taxes must be just, fair, set on the basis of each person’s ability to pay, as stated in the Italian constitution, Francis said.
“The tax system and administration must be efficient and not corrupt. But taxes should not be considered as usurpation,” he added.
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