Archive for Wednesday, February 3, 2010

State House committee to consider removing sales tax exemptions for non-profits, religious groups

Process is part of effort to close $400 million budget deficit

February 3, 2010

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— A Kansas House committee plans to spend two weeks reviewing proposals to eliminate exemptions to the state's sales tax.

Some proposals target churches and nonprofit groups.

House Taxation Committee chairman Richard Carlson says the panel will start its work Monday. The St. Marys Republican said the proposals are contained in two bills.

Some of the proposals would require churches, other religious organizations and nonprofit groups to start paying the 5.3 percent sales tax on their purchases. Another proposal would impose the tax on Kansas Lottery tickets, which are now exempt.

The proposals are designed to help the state close a projected budget shortfall of more than $400 million for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

Comments

frank mcguinness 5 years, 3 months ago

Thats simply amazing,

How about this you losers, try eliminating the tax breaks on corporations???

sciencegeek 5 years, 3 months ago

The arrogance of those bastages in the legislature is unlimited.

Go after non-profits and churches, who can least afford it and who actually help "the common man", and why?--to protect the tax exemptions on all of your special-interest cronies! Have you no decency???

But, it all comes back to the electorate. As long as these vultures are re-elected repeatedly just because there's an "R" behind their name on the ballot, we'll get what we deserve.

getreal 5 years, 3 months ago

What is needed is a fair and sound tax policy. Only some not for profits receive tax exemptions.........those that have friends on committees and can get hearings. There should be a hard and fast rule about what work you do and how it supplements what government is SUPPOSED to do before you qualify for an exemption.

Of course we can't touch the issue that there is NO sales tax on legal or advertising fees. Too many of them are donors to these politicians campaigns.

LogicMan 5 years, 3 months ago

"How about this you losers, try eliminating the tax breaks on corporations??? "

Just a fact check, no opinion stated: Many, if not most of the organizations in the category being discussed are incorporated.

BorderRuffian 5 years, 3 months ago

Hmmmm, Thing and Beobachter seem to want to raise tired, old arguments in support of who knows what.

First, let's understand one thing that is sure. Non-profit groups such as churches can not participate in politics. Period. They may not engage in fund-raising activities, hold political rallies in which only one side is represented, nor may they endorse candidates. If they do so, they lose their tax exempt status. Those laws are already in place. If either of these persons knows of churches where these laws are being broken, perhaps their time would be better spent in persecuting THOSE churches. My guess is, however, they have little personal, direct knowledge of this taking place because it is rather unlikely they ever darken the door of a church. Most likely they are just engaging in unsubstantiated rhetoric.

Secondly, and perhaps more to the point, I suspect that Thing and Beob are feeling rather indignant because there are entities such as churches that do attempt to hold their people to moral standards - standards that some in our society hate. So many in our society seem to think that they should have the full liberty to engage in whatever "Jerry Springer" type behavior they wish, without regard to how that may affect the rest of their neighbors and society. Yes, churches DO take a stand on moral issues. And that in itself is indirectly political. And that angers some people whose only god or belief is in themselves. Be that as it may. This is America - home of free speech. And even churches have the right to freely criticize moral wrongs. Whether they are your favorite moral wrongs or not.

And yes, I do go to church. Why not go to church yourselves and discover whether the laws banning church participation are being broken, or whether you are just perpetuating idle gossip?

zzgoeb 5 years, 3 months ago

Under previous Republican governors, and the ALWAYS Republican-dominated legislature, we have seen fit to give away millions of dollars in tax cuts to corporations, and got low-wage no-benefit jobs in return. Now that the coffers are bare, let's tax the NFPs and NGOs!!!! Where are these folks getting there ideas, from Fox Noise!!!

When will Kansans wake up, and throw all the no-tax and spend greedheads out of the State House!!!

avoice 5 years, 3 months ago

The biggest reason why churches need to start paying sales tax is that even with non-profit status, their pastors and leaders are making beaucoup bucks and their buildings are astonishingly extravagant. Especially the mega churches (which are taking all the members from the smaller ones at this point), spend lavishly on salaries, buildings and furnishings, all without having to pay a cent of tax.

bd 5 years, 3 months ago

Wow, libs standing up for churches????

somedude20 5 years, 3 months ago

"First, let's understand one thing that is sure. Non-profit groups such as churches can not participate in politics. Period."

But yet they do. Watch the doc "Whats the Matter With Kansas" and you will see first hand that churches DO in fact preach from the pulpit. Other churches have as well like in CA wher they urged voters to not allow gay marrige. They should be taxed!!

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 3 months ago

The real tragedy that no one is talking about is that our government - through the threat of taxation - prohibits certain non-profits from engaging in political speech. This is true whether the non-profit is a church, the Red Cross or the March of Dimes.

Why would we tie tax policy, of all things, to political speech? Why would we want to silence any group of individuals?

The entire argument of non-profit taxation is based upon the flawed notion that tax-exempt organizations should be excluded from engaging in all forms of public discourse, including political speech.

Thinking_Out_Loud 5 years, 3 months ago

This is a bad precedent. John Marshall wrote in the McCulloch vs. Maryland decision that the power to tax equates to the power to destroy. (OK, I am told. I haven't ever read the decision.) BorderRuffian's point that churches that violate the law should be prosecuted, rather than all churches losing status for the sins (so to speak) of a few is exactly right. And to avoice's concern, I know plenty of pastors and more of them live below the poverty level than above it. Likely because there are more small churches with a few score members than mega-churches with thousands. If those folks aren't paying their income taxes, pursue that...the sales tax should not be punitive toward organizations you disapprove of.

BorderRuffian 5 years, 3 months ago

avoice (Anonymous) says…

"The biggest reason why churches need to start paying sales tax is that even with non-profit status, their pastors and leaders are making beaucoup bucks and their buildings are astonishingly extravagant."

What are you talking about? Most pastors make relatively little in relation to the training and education they are required to have in order to become pastors. The pastor in the church I go to, after 5 years in seminary (after 4 years of college) and a masters degree, makes about $15 per hour (if figured on a 40 hour work week - most pastors work 48 - 60 hrs) and, like all persons working for a living, still has to pay the same taxes everyone else does. And as to the extravagence of the building and furnishings, my church, like most other typical churches, is rather frugal with its resources and much less than ostentatious.

BEFORE you make such ridiculous claims, why not contact the regional offices of the various denominations and find out what pastors make? And while you are at it, why not visit a few churches - OTHER than the few big churches - and find out first hand how extravagent they are?

@somedude20 "Other churches have as well like in CA wher they urged voters to not allow gay marrige."

somedude, the issue of gay marriage is most certainly a church issue. Marriage itself is a religious issue. Although some have allowed the waters to have become rather muddied, 'marriage' itself has its roots in religion (and not just the Judeo/Christian religions) and has only recently in history been allowed to blur across the lines into the secular. It is most certainly appropriate for churches to discuss, even to espouse positions, on matters such as marriage that pertain to the church.

If the issue of gay "marriage" is one that enflames you, I'd encourage you to work within the political system to enable civil liberties and civil unions for glbt persons. But don't imagine that churches discussing such things as marriage is in fact "engaging in politics." Perhaps you'd benefit from checking out the IRS laws on non-profits and politics to see where the boundary lines are drawn.

somedude20 5 years, 3 months ago

BorderRuffian (Anonymous) says… "somedude, the issue of gay marriage is most certainly a church issue. Marriage itself is a religious issue. Although some have allowed the waters to have become rather muddied, 'marriage' itself has its roots in religion (and not just the Judeo/Christian religions) and has only recently in history been allowed to blur across the lines into the secular. It is most certainly appropriate for churches to discuss, even to espouse positions, on matters such as marriage that pertain to the church.

If the issue of gay “marriage” is one that enflames you, I'd encourage you to work within the political system to enable civil liberties and civil unions for glbt persons. But don't imagine that churches discussing such things as marriage is in fact “engaging in politics.” Perhaps you'd benefit from checking out the IRS laws on non-profits and politics to see where the boundary lines are drawn" I say: I believe in a freedom of choice. If you are gay and want to get married then why not. You missed the point that I made. You said churches do not get involved with politics and I said you are dead wrong. When churches try to sway their flocks to vote one way or another, guess what, they are into politics and need to start paying taxes. When a church tries to change legislation or pending laws or try to sway votes, they ARE being political. Have you seen "Whats the matter with Kansas?" You should might open them eyes

beebo 5 years, 3 months ago

Actually, a better plan would be to remove ALL sales tax exemptions for EVERY business, non-profit, church, etc and then lower the rate to about 2.5% and make everyone pay it. The current system allows for a long list of exemptions, which upon reading them, you can clearly trace back to lobbyists and special interests. While they have their place, after a while, all we're left with is a ridiculously long laundry list of exemptions for this, that and the other added over the years and very few of us left to pay more of the tax load.

ivalueamerica 5 years, 3 months ago

Thing (Anonymous) says… Actually, as long as churches get involved in politics, they should be paying taxes.


My vote for best post of the day

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 3 months ago

beebo,

Removing tax exemptions on businesses makes good sense, but how do we make sure the government immediately lowers eveyrone's taxes by a corresponding amount? That's the big risk associated with allowing tax relief to expire.

Perhaps removing the tax exemptions should only proceed as part of legislation slashing the statewide sales tax rate.

Separately, I'll note that if we eliminate the tax-exempt status of non-profits, there will be huge reductions in the services provided by those non-profits. Also, a meaningful incentive for taxpayers to contribute to non-profits will evaporate if their contributions are no longer deductible from income tax.

LoveThsLife 5 years, 3 months ago

"The biggest reason why churches need to start paying sales tax is that even with non-profit status, their pastors and leaders are making beaucoup bucks and their buildings are astonishingly extravagant. Especially the mega churches (which are taking all the members from the smaller ones at this point), spend lavishly on salaries, buildings and furnishings, all without having to pay a cent of tax."

Not all churches are run that way.... and many churches actually do a lot of good. Look at the Link program in Lawrence.....

WHY 5 years, 3 months ago

Churches should pay taxes. Just because you have a club that believes in something stupid should not exempt you from paying what every other club pays. Churches do not help people they hurt people by filling their heads with garbage. They should be taxed extra for the harm caused through their ignorance.

beebo 5 years, 3 months ago

Setting: If you remove the sales tax exemption from non-profits in would in no way affect their federal 'tax exempt status'. One has nothing to do with the other....donations would still be deductible.

A flat tax rate for every single service or product sold - like 2%, then a different rate on food (lower) and leave the sin taxes where they are - to me sounds like a more fair and balanced plan. If a non-profit has to pay 2% sales tax on all the food it buys to serve in its shelter, that's not that big of a deal compared to all the tax collected from the businesses, churches, etc. that would no longer be exempt. I think that if the tax rate was low enough across all products and services, there wouldn't be much screaming....

Read up on the subject: http://www.ksrevenue.org/pdf/forms/pub1520.pdf

LoveThsLife 5 years, 3 months ago

"Churches do not help people they hurt people by filling their heads with garbage."

What about the food pantries that are run by area churches? Do those not help people?

What about some of the services area churches provided to help individuals who are struggling financially? Do those not help people?

Regardless of your personal belief system...many of our area churches run some important programs in our community that are helpful to people.

Shane Garrett 5 years, 3 months ago

Mega bucks ministers... maybe not. But they drive a car purchased and insured by the church. They live in a house purchased and insured by the church. They get health insurance paid for by the church. They get 15$ an hour for a 60 hour week. Plus travel expenses. Not so bad.

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 3 months ago

beebo,

I understand the diff between a tax exempt organization and a donor getting a tax write off. I'm suggesting that if non-profits have to pay sales and/or "income" tax, it would follow that their donors would eventually lose the deductibility of donations. I could be wrong.

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 3 months ago

And the one thing about the clergy that we should all envy is their ability to exempt themselves from the Social Security penalty.

Can you imagine what you could do with an additional 12.4% of your income every month? Let younger workers opt out now from the Social Security penalty so that they may save for a truly secure future, not one based on a hollow government promise.

avoice 5 years, 3 months ago

BorderRuffian: There are numerous Methodist ministers in the surrounding area who make much, much more than $15 per hour. Check it.

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