Tax break for churches queried

Religion sucks billions of dollars from tax revenues which then has to be made up by higher contributions from the general population.

To the editor:

If you’ve sometimes wondered why our taxes are high, I think here is part of the reason—religion sucks billions of dollars from tax revenues which then has to be made up by higher contributions from the general population.

As most people know, churches get a pass on property taxes, and that gives them millions of unearned dollars. What most people often don’t realize is that the rest of us have to make up this shortfall in municipal tax revenues. Add in all the funds through donations that churches receive free of taxation and suddenly we are talking several billion dollars every year.

According to a recent study, this amounts to an average of $73 billion per year in the U.S. and between $4- to $6 billion in Canada. Surely, this money could be put to better use in any number of more worthwhile programs such as health care, education, food banks or the many genuine non-profits that are perennially short of funds.

If churches were truly full-time, legitimate charities, one could understand that they should receive relief on taxation. However, I feel churches are, first and foremost, businesses, their primary reason for being to recruit more members to their particular group in order to bring in more funds to build bigger and more elaborate palaces equipped with the latest technological gadgetry to entertain and inspire their followers.

The City of Kelowna will soon advertise the amounts of permissive tax exemptions for various organisations in the coming year. If you carefully add up the dollar amounts by which churches and church run schools will benefit in Kelowna, I think you could be very surprised by the total. My calculation for the current year came to $1,125,109, obtained from the public notice published on Oct. 14, 2011.

Maybe it’s time to tell these freeloaders to pay their own way. We’ve done enough. Besides, I thought God was supposed to provide for the faithful (Matt. 21:22, Phil. 4:19, Mal. 3:10).

Guy King, Kelowna

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