Arizona Lawmakers Vote to Expand Church Tax Exemptions; Could Cost State $2.1 Million

Categories: I'm Only a Bill
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Matthew Hendley


A bill expanding tax exemptions for churches passed the Arizona Legislature yesterday, and could cost the state $2.1 million in lost revenue.

The bill, House Bill 2281, is also the third bill pushed by the Center for Arizona Police that legislators have passed this session. Others include the notorious anti-gay Senate Bill 1062, and HB 2284, which allows for the state health department to search abortion clinics without a warrant.

See also:
-Center for Arizona Policy Hates Gays, Abortions, and Likes to Tell Politicians What to Do

After the veto of SB 1062 a couple months ago, some people speculated that the Center for Arizona Policy, a Religious Right organization with a lot of sway at the capitol, would kind of ease up on its agenda. That hasn't happened.

In her veto speech, Governor Jan Brewer said the bill wasn't one of her legislative priorities. Abortion restrictions and tax exemptions for churches aren't part of her legislative priorities either, but Brewer has since signed the abortion bill, and the tax-exemption bill is now on her desk.

This tax-exemption bill calls for property leased to a religious group, and used primarily for religious worship, would have their property tax assessment ratio lowered from 18.5 percent down to 1 percent.

Since local property taxes help pay for the public-education system, and the state has to cover the cost when property taxes aren't enough under the funding formula, the legislative budget staff estimates this legislation could cost the state as much as $2.1 million, starting in 2016.

The bill barely passed the Senate yesterday, on a 16-14 vote. One Democrat voted for the bill, and two voted against it.

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53 comments
wtf...
wtf...

Meh!... another day at the state senate,.....to all the people making comments here, quit complaining get out and vote and take your friends with you!....fucking lazy people, you're allowing this to happen... let's be honest most democrats are fucking lazy ass voters....  


Get mad you son of a bitches get mad....

G Ranger Parsons
G Ranger Parsons

Hell no. Churches are multi million dollar corporations, and should be treated as such. Scams and shams.

Patrick N. Smith
Patrick N. Smith

Utterly disagree with any and ALL non-profit exemptions. Non-profits should be treated just like profits, and there should be NO federal corporate income taxes at all.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

Religious people have a tendency to believe what they're told without thinking about it, particularly if the person telling them seems to be more religious than they are.

That's more or less the definition of a religious person.


So when the religious people in our legislature are told by Herrods that their constituents want this sort of law, they believe it.  When they're told that the only people who don't want it are atheists and other sinners under the influence of the Devil, and so they wouldn't vote for them, anyway, they believe that, too.


That's difficult to fight.  Maybe what it will take will be for one of the gun rights advocacy groups to step up and start telling the legislators that there are a lot of gun owners who vote and who want the government to stop passing laws based on religious beliefs.



Brando Montoya
Brando Montoya

So the same religious law makers that cost our great state money cause they're biggots also get a tax break? They cost us money then don't have to compensate for it? Am I getting this straight?!

eric.nelson745
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

This tax break will allow for more "Christian academies" to be built. Where kids are taught that the Earth is 6,000 years old and that Fred Flintstone really did have a dinosaur.

cassityg32
cassityg32

Oh ya, this one will pass because among other things this is a state of complete ignorance &/or selfishness.

Eric Voise
Eric Voise

Churches should not be tax-exempt. They are very much a "for profit" institution.

Marshall Wilmot
Marshall Wilmot

Disagree! Churches should be taxed on income just like any other business. Because, at the end of the day, churches are a business.

George Mendez
George Mendez

They don't pay taxes, most churches are monuments of excess, and the leaders live like kings. They have the nerve to ask for donations from their sheep and handouts from the government. No way.

Chuck Graf
Chuck Graf

Disagree. Another one of CAPs theist agenda laws. Enough already!

Leah Greer
Leah Greer

Disagree. Churchs and the staff get more than enough in donations from parishners. Our chuch got enough to put up a million dollar bell tower!

Dena French
Dena French

This made sense prior to government assistance. Churches were a major source of welfare at that time. And while many churches still offer assistance, the bulk of aid comes from the government. Its time to start taxing churches.

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

I'm sure all of you liberal hypocrites would  also like to see "progressive" endeavors not receive tax exempt status.


I say, take tax exempt status away from everyone.   

Eliott Kroll
Eliott Kroll

How about the rest of us get a bill also exempting us from taxes as well, instead of everyone taking their rage out on religious people?

Kim Villarreal
Kim Villarreal

Bad idea. They practice politics, especially the mega churches. They need to pay taxes IF 90% of their do atop s are not used for community programs.

Kevin Moyers
Kevin Moyers

Plus, nobody should get a tax discount because of their beliefs, especially when some of those people spent decades fucking kids.

Kevin Moyers
Kevin Moyers

I'm not attacking religion. I'm attacking the organizations that feed off of the negative parts of religion for financial gain. Jesus said to go into your room, close the door and pray quietly. Don't make a show of religion. Why should they get tax breaks?

Steven Glansberg
Steven Glansberg

Dont attack religion.. this has to do with money not the word of God

Tom Corpron
Tom Corpron

Maybe if they only build in areas zoned industrial. Very often, in smaller towns, they take the most expensive property off of the tax rolls. This in turn means less money for schools.

Nathan Schneider
Nathan Schneider

Because her organization gives money to help Republicans win their re-election campaigns; and because a lot of the Republicans here are extreme Tea Partiers who feel that they have the right to legislate based on their personal religious beliefs.

Randy Bell
Randy Bell

I'm starting my own church of one, right now!

Will Bjerke
Will Bjerke

DISAGREE. They should get ZERO tax deductions

timdlittle
timdlittle

Looking forward to rooting the theists out of the capital.

Nathan Schneider
Nathan Schneider

"Let's start with the premise: should a church be exempt from a property tax? Yes, they should be. It's in the Constitution. Well, should a church unable to afford to purchase their property be dinged with a property tax?" asks Josh Kredit, an attorney with the Center for Arizona Policy. "I think most Americans, most Arizonans would say no, that doesn't sound right."

Kevin Moyers
Kevin Moyers

Why do hate groups get tax breaks in the first place?

Timothy D Little
Timothy D Little

It's the theists in control of the state robbing us of more money.

Terri Carr
Terri Carr

Most churches offer free support and services though not publicized. I believe there must be limits. Just look at Joel Olsteen's opulent home in Houston, and the recent $600K stolen out of one Sunday's collection plate.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

Fuck this SHIT!


They should be paying MORE taxes, not less.


Hey, I believe in a fairy tale with zero proof too.. does that mean I don't have to pay property taxes too?? 


So sick of delusional fairy tale believers getting special treatment in this SECULAR nation!

Allie Grace Becvar
Allie Grace Becvar

Disagree, tax them like private business would be a better move, but no more breaks

Joe Kennedy
Joe Kennedy

Why isn't anyone standing up to Cathi Herrods bullshit. This woman is single handedly turning the state backwards and no one will put her in her place. The Arizona legislators are all balless wonders.

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

More than what, dildo?

Vast amounts of money hasn't fixed it thus far.  

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

Property owned by churches was exempt.  This passes that exemption along to people who rent property to churches.


ExpertShot
ExpertShot topcommenter

@fishingblues I say take limited liability status away from ALL corporations and LLCs - that's a government give a way too - but none of the loons on the right complain about it.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

The Constitution doesn't mention property tax.  It says that government can't restrict the free exercise of religion.  It seems to be a serious stretch to suggest that this means that the taxpayers need to subsidize them if they have to rent instead of buy.


fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@ExpertShot @fishingblues  Shot:  You do realize that LLC has more to do with limiting the legal liability of a small business person than any potential tax benefit?  

How many small businesses do you think there would be if those entrepreneurs were held personally liable for anything and everything they did.  I'm sure you also realize that about half of the jobs in this country are created by small business.      

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@ExpertShot @fishingblues  You would have to define "none" and "right" for this to make any sense.  Also, the pejorative "loons" is reserved for the loony liberal left.  (Haven't you ever heard of alliteration?) 


Flat tax for all.  No loopholes, incentives, giveaways, buy-offs, write-offs, pay-offs or special privilege.   

ExpertShot
ExpertShot topcommenter

@fishingblues @ExpertShotfishingblues - never thought you would be one to advance the idea that a government benefit program was good - oh, yeah - I see - it's for wealthy people and business owners so that's just fine huh.  Small businesses don't have the government benefit of limited liability - LLCs do - Corporations do.  The business operating under those government charters might be small but most small businesses in the US don't have those government benefits.


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