Some of the big things I hear right now in the news is all about the whole “47% don’t pay taxes” and, of course, the whole “Buffett Rule” thing, and that in order to start getting rid of our debt, we need to increase our government’s income(when people aren’t screaming that cutting spending is all we need to do). Now, as I was driving home one day, I passed one of those thermometer donation tracking things that Churches are so fond of. They were only $500,000 short of the $2 Million they need for their new wing. This, by the way, has been in just a summer. This got me thinking… Why can’t we tax churches?
No, seriously: Sure, they might do all this charity work…for people who believe in what they do. Also, the requirements for a church currently to get its tax exempt paper work done make it hard, if not nearly impossible, for any of lesser religions to get the status. Meanwhile, of course, you have Christians building 2 million dollar auditoriums, or their nice churches with marble and their gold chalices, paying the pastor/reverend/priest enough that they can have new BMWs, large houses, etc. What would taxing churches, regardless of religion, like we would a corporation, hurt other then to encourage them to keep better records. Heck, it might even create jobs by making the churches have to hire accountants to make sure every dime is accounted for.
Best way to handle it, of course, is to treat the church just like we currently treat corporations as a “person.” If a church makes less then a certain amount, can make sure it has deductions for its charitable work(which, of course, must not include any religious indoctrination tied to it), then it doesn’t have to pay taxes. However, honestly, how many churches are going to reach that point? And, either way: getting tax money from the churches or getting them doing effectively the job of medicare/medicaid/foodstamps/welfare….Win-Win for the budget!