• Source: Flickr
  • Small Town May Be First In U.S. To Tax Its Churches

    A small Alaska town may become the first in the nation to tax its churches and other non-profits.

    Nome, Alaska, is a tiny town of less than 4000 people. Despite its size, its name is well-known, showing up in popular culture venues from "The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour" of the 1950's, to "The X-Files," to "The Simpsons Movie." And Nome is the finish line of the 1049 mile-long Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

    Nome, Alaska, may one day soon be known for another reason: as the first American town to tax its churches.

    Strapped for cash, the town's Finance Director, Julie Liew believes taxing churches and other non-profits could raise $300,000 annually. The city council has already met to debate the idea, and it looks like they may move forward.

    LOOK: You Can't Buy The Pill, A Condom, Or Porn In This Florida Town

    “You get rid of the sales tax exemption, most of the time these other exemptions aren’t given — we’re a very nice city [to do] it,” City Council member Matt Culley said, according to KNOM. “When we sit down at budget time, [with] the numbers to look at, if we want to donate that [money back to nonprofits], the money can go all back in … but we have control over it now, as opposed to it going whatever direction that we have it going now.”

    LOOK: America Spends $71 Billion Annually Subsidizing Tax-Exempt Religion

    The city council says they could refund the taxes collected in the future if the town's coffers are more full.

    Estimates vary, but studies show exempting religion from taxes in America costs the taxpayers between $71 billion and $83.5 billion a year. 

    For comparison, America's food stamp program costs about $75-80 billion a year.

     

    Image by 401kcalculator.org via Flickr
    Hat tip: The Immoral Minority

     

     

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    • commented 2014-11-20 22:32:59 -0500
      Sorry but take a good look at TBN and you will see the wealthiest people in the US asking for money from the poor to pay for their Cartier watches, million dollar mansions, and luxury automobiles. They are collecting far more money from the poor than they are giving it to them.

    • commented 2014-11-19 14:27:30 -0500
      The very mention that this town will “refund those taxes once the coffers are full” … Please … Are you going to refund everyone else’s taxes, too, once you get the money you need?

    • commented 2014-11-19 14:24:40 -0500
      It’s ironic that a state that initially rebelled against taxation would become so obsessed with taxing everyone. Tax exemption doesn’t “cost” anything – these are simply taxes not collected, not our hard earned money spent not collecting taxes. It costs the government in uncollected revenue. It’s also money that has already been taxed. It’s your income, given to someone else in charity to spend on your behalf. You ask me, if we spent half as much effort focusing on how we spent money as we do who isn’t paying, we wouldn’t have a debt problem. Instead, we throw more money at it to make it go away, and when we run out of money we complain about who isn’t paying their fair share, and justify stealing it by insinuating it would be enough to pay for a small portion of social welfare … Yeah, that one didn’t slip by me.
      The original document did not list social charity as an obligation of our government, but instead (and oddly enough) in the hands of “nonprofit organizations” such as religious institutions to aid the needy. The danger is if you rely on your politicians for your livelihood, they own your vote. And now that the resources of those willing to work for themselves has been exceeded by those that can’t or won’t (the won’t being the problem), we go after those same institutions to buy more votes. It’s shameless.

    • commented 2014-11-16 19:31:34 -0500
      @ David Perna. It is past time to tax the Chamber of Commerce and ALL religious groups and organization. To exempt any church or officiant is a blatant attempt to discriminate against the people in favor of a few. Tax all institutions and people to regain a foothold on democracy.

    • commented 2014-11-16 18:20:53 -0500
      I want to thank Scott Fehr for adding factual information to the conversation. After looking over the list, you have to wonder why some organizations are not paying taxes. I was the treasure for a teacher’s association and we paid our full share of property taxes. Looking at the my antichurch focus is swinging to questioning why others are tax free. Chamber of Commerce????

    • commented 2014-11-16 15:06:37 -0500
      This story is spun to gain antichurch approval, and sweep the ugliness of its implications under the rug. The loss of tax exeption includes all nonprofit organizations in the community.
      Tax the churches… “Good?”
      Tax the Arctic native social welfare organizations. ..“Good”?
      Tax the Bering Sea Womans social welfare organizations…“Great! Just raise the capital we need to build that museum!”

      It’s an all or none situation, where you can’t have it both ways.

      Here’s a list of non profits in Nome that would lose their tax exempt status. I had typed it out but it’s quite long

      http://www.taxexemptworld.com/organizations/nome-ak-alaska.asp

    • commented 2014-11-16 08:49:30 -0500
      Ignatius Myosurus: You act as though the government were monolithic. True, Obama has been too willing to “compromise” with the Republicans, and there are too many Democrats who are willing as well, but let’s be honest about it: it’s the Republicans who want to eliminate or “privatize” social services, Medicare, Social Security, and everything else — but don’t touch the Defense Department budget, because “Benghazi”.

    • commented 2014-11-16 08:17:43 -0500
      Not all churches serve the poor and provide free services yo the community. Soluton- Their taxes are computed and then they have two choices. Pay them or spend that amount on services to the poor.

    • commented 2014-11-16 07:52:45 -0500
      >>>So tax the churches to pay for the food stamp program. >>>

      If you think the tax money will go to food stamps, you’re an idiot.

      The current government is trying END social services and the safety, remember?

      It’s one more redistribution of wealth upward.

    • commented 2014-11-16 07:49:27 -0500
      Make the church close down the building where the poorest people in town gather and find community.

      Make the church close the town’s soup kitchen.

      Make the church close the town’s thrift shop.

      Make the church close the after school program for the town’s youth.

      Pretend you’re doing it for the poor.

      After all, the alternative is taxing a billionaire.

    • commented 2014-11-15 08:27:46 -0500
      So tax the churches to pay for the food stamp program. They should be OK with that — aren’t they supposed to be feeding the hungry?

    • commented 2014-11-14 23:25:43 -0500
      Amen!

    • commented 2014-11-14 19:43:04 -0500
      Am sure the church people will be saying that separation of state and church gives then their non tax privilege. That the same idea…….separation of church and state they ignore when getting involved in politics.

    • commented 2014-11-14 19:31:36 -0500
      All businesses—and churches are businesses: owning lands, raising revenues, etc—must pay their fair share. It is time to take away the tax exemption from clergy salaries: these are workers and to exempt them is an insult to all other workers in a democracy where all people are considered equal. To exempt the housing of clergy is another great evil that must be stopped, as no daily worker can exempt his property taxes, etc. Nome, AK is truly on the cutting edge and must be hailed.

    • posted about this on Facebook 2014-11-14 16:54:43 -0500
      Small Town May Be First In U.S. To Tax Its Churches

    • commented 2014-11-14 14:03:34 -0500
      All churches that engage in any form of politics or in any form of prejudice.

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