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Old 07-18-2012, 08:26 AM
 
428 posts, read 1,184,766 times
Reputation: 261

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I read a story the other day about how Clearwater was trying to pass some sort of ban on sitting to help get rid of their homeless problem. The article didn't do a good job of explaining what the heck this meant. But, the age old complaint of "not enough shelter space" was voiced again.

I could not help but think about this: Apparently, last year the Clearwater Scientology arm brought in $200-$250 million. From my understanding, they pay no taxes. I am also not sure how much they actually "give back", e.g. running soup kitchens and whatnot like most churches. In fact, their headquarters looks like the Apple campus inside, and I've heard people pay over 100K to make it to the upper rungs. This seems like a business to me, not a church.

What do you do? One one hand, removing their tax status as an organized religion them may open the door for an overreaching government to do the same for any org they don't like.

OTOH, we can't allow just anyone wanting to run a billion dollar commercial organization to get tax exempt status by claiming they are a religion.

One commenter on the original story have the best idea I have heard. Remove tax exempt status for churches but let the claim exemptions for any charitable work that they do. This means that a several million dollar HQ building is not tax exempt but a shelter or soup kitchen would be. The only thing I don't like about this is that it is a further complication to an already complex tax code, but it is something the rest of us are already forced to do.
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Old 07-18-2012, 09:36 AM
 
1,024 posts, read 1,698,262 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjax1000 View Post
One commenter on the original story have the best idea I have heard. Remove tax exempt status for churches but let the claim exemptions for any charitable work that they do. This means that a several million dollar HQ building is not tax exempt but a shelter or soup kitchen would be. The only thing I don't like about this is that it is a further complication to an already complex tax code, but it is something the rest of us are already forced to do.
Great idea! I wish it could be implemented.
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:28 AM
 
35,316 posts, read 48,705,686 times
Reputation: 30929
Cant sit down in Clearwater? As some one with health issues i cant stand for more than 10-15 minutes at a time so i guess Clearwater just lost this tourist..
As for Churches and tax breaks its almost laughable at the billions lost in tax revenue to non paying churches but some poor soul on food stamps is taken to task for being poor and labeled a welfare leech.
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Old 07-18-2012, 11:59 AM
 
428 posts, read 1,184,766 times
Reputation: 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by jambo101 View Post
As for Churches and tax breaks its almost laughable at the billions lost in tax revenue to non paying churches but some poor soul on food stamps is taken to task for being poor and labeled a welfare leech.
Times have really changed haven't they? At one point not really so long ago, government had no role in helping those in need of assistance. Instead, it was society- family, churches, other organizations- that stepped in.

Fast forward several decades and roles have almost completely reversed. We've put the care of our own almost exclusively in the hands of government. Combine Big Government and money and you have created in instant recipe for copious amounts of fraud and abuse.

I do not blame anyone for being critical of the current system. In large part, this system has failed those who pay in to the system as well as those who receive withdraws. Almost everyone has had at least one experience with able-bodied folks that are milking the system. It should be of no surprise that this has a tendency to create animosity against the system, and, although misdirected, animosity against the fraction that are in need of true assistance.
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