The Freedom From Religion Foundation noticed a billboard was on church property in Columbus, Ohio, and the church was not paying property tax. It was clearly receiving money from the sign company, but was not paying the $20,000 to local governments it would have paid had it been a regular business.
All across the country, times are tough. We are becoming ever more aware of who is not carrying their fair share of the burden to pay for our governments’ services.
The property tax system is not simple. Churches normally pay what is called special assessments, levies for streets, sewers and water lines in their neigborhood. But, they do not pay for the fire or police services. Those services are free to churches, paid for by the rest of us.
City services, like police and fire, make up about one third of our property taxes. The other two thirds is for the local school district. Churches also avoid that tax.
While some may question levying school district taxes against churches, all other businesses have to pay them. And, when a church uses up space that homes could be built on, our homes have to cover the losses.
Cities should set a date, like January 1, 2013, and say no new chruch exemptions after that date. Existing churches would have ten years to come on board.
Politically, this would happen if we had more Mosques. People who hate Islam would not want to subsidize them.