Last week was quite a week. There’s nothing like a bit of weather to raise the ire of the population. For the media a major storm, such as the one we had last Thursday, is actually a welcome change from the slow news days traditionally experienced during this time of year.
One piece of news was released last week that could raise that ire even further, and it’s found in Pasadena’s new budget.
The town has stated in its official budget document that it will look at local churches and not-for-profit organizations to see if they could start paying taxes where traditionally they did not have to.
Nothing is set in stone yet, but it’s being discussed to make the organizations in question apply for their tax-free status to the town. In the United States a lack of a church tax is costing the federal government an estimated $71 billion per year, and as more people leave behind their traditional beliefs, a movement is growing to get them to pay their fair share.
Germany has already done it. Almost three years ago the German government imposed a head tax on some religions. Churchgoers pay the tax; the government redistributes it to the churches, essentially, pay as you pray.
No one is calling for that here yet, at least not in this province. There’s no question that churches and non-profit organizations do some great work for charity, and there’s merit in discussing keeping that work tax-free. But granting them immunity from paying basic infrastructure taxes means we all pay for their places of devine inspiration, whether we use them or not. We’ve all seen movies that have inspired us, but there’s a tax built into the price of the ticket. Same with music and art — someone has to pay for it if it is to be enjoyed.
Perhaps it’s time we all start asking exactly where our taxes are going.
In the days of fiscal responsibility, we all have a role to play.