Religious institutions should pay taxes | Letters

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Religious organizations have long enjoyed huge tax exemptions in our country, with a current estimate that churches in the United States avoid paying $ 71 billion in taxes per year.

Religious institutions do not pay taxes; local, state or federal. They do not pay taxes on large investments, interest earned or capital gains, or on religious endowments amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars. They do not pay sales tax on supplies, cars, travel, or even income tax for businesses “pursuing religious goals.” Most importantly, religious organizations do not pay property taxes, a primary source of funding for local services such as firefighters, paramedics, and police, not to mention schools and other infrastructure.

A study in Manatee County, Florida, a population of 300,000 that includes a mix of rural and urban areas typical of the country’s middle counties, found that while religious organizations paid only their share of standard property taxes, as demanded by other commercial and residential properties, this would add $ 8.5 million to that county’s tax revenue alone each year.

In recent years, many religious organizations, especially evangelicals, have increasingly violated the practices of separation of church and state, and membership in traditional churches continues to decline. Do they still deserve these huge tax breaks?

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