Re: "Removing exemptions a poorly conceived idea," Nov. 4.
Let me get this straight. Churches receive property-tax exemptions because they are religious institutions. They may wish to engage in charitable work but, if they don't, it does not affect their status.
Furthermore, the policy is not applied universally. Some municipalities allow the exemption while others do not. Nor are there any rules or regulations dictating how the money saved thereby may be spent. It can be used for soup kitchens, beds for the needy and similar worthwhile causes, but it can also be sent out of town, province or even country for whatever project the church in question decides to subsidize.
A quick calculation of religious-based entities recently exempted from property taxes in Victoria alone (excluding other municipalities) produced a total of just over $648,000, a sizeable figure. Add to this "extras," such as revenue from meeting rooms and parking lots and we are looking at big bucks.
Is a diocese with its bequests, lands and ornate places of worship deserving of such largesse while, for example, the single mother on limited income has to pay up by July 1, or else?
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