Highlights from yesterday's story, "Religious Programs Expand, So Do Tax Breaks"
- A Roman Catholic charitable ministry is providing lovely, tax-exempt retirement living to affluent people (avg. net worth=$1 million), while other non-religious retirement communities are on the hook.
- Working families pay more for services when wealthy families get property tax breaks simply because of the affiliation with organized religion.
- Charity used to involve self-sacrifice; now it is almost exclusively successful marketing (whatever happened to the religious vow of poverty?).
- Tax-exempt bonds for churches shift the local tax burden off of churches and on to the general citizenry, even though the latter does not get to enjoy the exempt properties unless they belong to the church memberships.
- Non-religious nonprofits are just as cash poor as religious ones, but they don't get the same breaks.
- Religious tax-breaks cost taxpayers $500 million per year in tax revenue.
- Ministers are allowed to be conscientious objectors to contributing to Social Security; the problem is that so many do opt out of that obligation for financial, not religious reasons.
- Religious publishers enjoy tax breaks than non-religious ones do not; is that fair competition?