Saturday, February 7, 2015

Arizona House Bill 2128 Exempts Religious Groups From Property Taxes-Adds Possible 2.1 Million To Budget By 2017

A new tax break for some religious groups was passed  by the Arizona House of Representatives.

The bill, which is being pushed by the notorious Center for Arizona Policy, was vetoed by Governor Jan Brewer after it was passed by lawmakers last year.
House Bill 2128 creates a property-tax exemption for religious groups that lease their places of worship, and there have been indications that Governor Doug Ducey may be more friendly to the legislation than Brewer was.
The House passed the bill by a vote of 33-25, mostly along party lines, with Republicans generally supporting the bill, and Democrats opposing it.
According to notes prepared by budget staff at the Legislature, this bill could cost the state up to $2.1 million starting in 2017.
In a hearing on the bill on Wednesday, Democratic Representative Bruce Wheeler pointed out that lawmakers are often telling one another that the legislature shouldn't be picking winners and losers in tax law, yet here they are doing it.
"There are hundreds of nonprofit organizations across our state who provide a unique service to the community, including food banks, domestic-violence shelters, and veterans' organizations," Wheeler said. "Many of these organizations are also leasing property and struggle with their bottom line. By giving this exemption to churches and only to churches or religious properties, you are indeed selecting one nonprofit service over others based on religion, and nothing but religion."

Bloggers and others have pointed out one specific person who would likely benefit from this bill -- notorious Tempe pastor Steven Anderson, who's gained national attention for calling for the execution of gays, praying for President Obama's death, and referring to Jews as the "anti-Christs." Source Read More