Wednesday, November 07, 2007

my buddy's buddy's letter to the editor

Barry's friend sent this letter in to the newspaper, and I'm passing the awesomeness on to you

Wichita Eagle, The (KS)
2007-11-06
Section: OPINION
Edition: main
Page: 6A

ISN'T IT TIME TO TAX CHURCHES?

With the demand for public services increasing, it is time to re-evaluate the current tax-exempt status for religious properties. In Kansas, 14.1 percent of the total appraised property value is exempt from property taxes simply because it is owned by a religious group or organization. This is $2.86 billion of untaxed property, according to a 2006 report titled "Erosion of the Kansas Property Tax Base," by Glenn W. Fisher.

Properties used by religious, educational benevolent organizations are exempted in the belief that they provide services to the community that reduce the burden on government. This exemption began with legislation dating from the 1860s. The churches in 1860 were much different from the churches today. Over the years, many churches have morphed into businesses. They have cash flow. They budget a portion of this cash flow to marketing. They have a payroll. They invest in training for their employees. They maintain faciliti es. They usually contribute to and are members of larger franchises. On top of this, our church community has become very politically active in recent years. Focus on the Family, American Family Radio and the Discovery Institute are but a few of the wealthy political organizations that are backed, at least in part, with church funds and are overtly engaged in political campaigning. It is not unusual for churches to offer voter guidelin es and to aid in fundraising for political candidates. Remember Phill Kline and his memo concerning church fundraisers? How about Ralph Reed?

It would appear that a greater percentage of church funds is being spent on salaries, facilities and activism than is being spent on community aid and works of charity. For these reasons and more, it is time to tax all religious property on an equal basis with private property. Let's put an end to public subsidies for religion.

P.R. COLQUETTE

Milton

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I am the author of 8 books: Android Down, Firewood for Cannibals, Brain Giblets, The Cubicles of Madness, Booze and News, Get Your Zen On, Zen Happens, and most recently, Robot Stories. I live and write in Michigan. My website is at danmanning.com

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