Letter: NWMC should pay property taxes

Posted 1/5/10

David Whitney’s letter in the Dec. 30 issue makes the case that local churches should not pay property taxes because “they more than pay their way.” I think the premise of Mr. Whitney’s …

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Letter: NWMC should pay property taxes

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David Whitney’s letter in the Dec. 30 issue makes the case that local churches should not pay property taxes because “they more than pay their way.” I think the premise of Mr. Whitney’s letter is faulty.

We have good friends (a couple) who both work tirelessly and totally selflessly for many local charitable and community organizations, yet they have to pay property taxes just like everyone else. My wife and I support numerous charitable organizations, and she works for one from home nearly every day. Do we get a break on property taxes? No.

As far as I can tell, the only reason churches get a tax exemption is the religious activity going on under the roof, and I think it is perfectly appropriate for Laura Piper to question whether belief in a supernatural being (in the 21st century) is a legitimate basis for tax-exempt status.

I agree with Laura Piper on many of her points regarding the NWMC raised in her previous letter. We both want the NWMC to succeed. I share her view that churches should have to pay property taxes. Where we part ways is whether the NWMC ought to be treated like churches in our current (albeit, in my opinion, wrong) tax regime.

Unlike a church, the NWMC offers the public an extensive list of fee-based programs. It is also leasing storage space for small boats on its grounds, at $300 to $900 per year. From all external appearances, the NWMC looks as if it is operating as a business and should pay property taxes.

TOM FAIRHALL

Port Townsend

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