Stop subsidizing the churches

Tax exemption notices show religious institutions ride free.

Dear editor,

Hospital parking fees has been atop the local news of late, and suggestions of raising property taxes even higher to subsidize the users, are inappropriate. Ratepayers are already at the affordability limit.

Coincidentally, tax exemption notices show religious institutions ride free. Rather than pricing young families and seniors out with more tax hikes, how about these religious organizations sacrifice a bit to pay for part of it? Between communities served by the new hospitals, religious exemptions in the six-figure range annually could tremendously impact parking costs to those who actually need help.

Many religious organizations connect to larger organizations holding billions of dollars of cash, assets, and property, and don’t need taxpayers subsidies. While some support charitable initiatives, many getting subsidized do little community benefit except evangelizing, without obligation to show subsidy spending.

In democracy people are free to adhere to any beliefs. Citizens shouldn’t be forced to surreptitiously support any religion they disbelieve in or find abhorrent nonsense, preaching against minority groups, and actively attacking basic rights as free speech, abortion, and assisted dying. There’s no choice with forced taxpayer subsidization. It’s time to re-examine the tradition of subsidizing ideologies in which a small and shrinking number of people partake. As Thomas Jefferson said, “To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

Ideally ALL religious subsidization should stop, but beginning with property tax exemptions is a great start. These organizations will continue reaping huge financial benefits from other tax exemptions, while the proportionally small number of people in these organizations can still support them financially and receive a significant tax refund, thus still receiving huge taxpayer subsidies.

Tim Chaisson

Courtenay

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