Dove World Outreach Center, the Florida evangelical church that made headlines recently by sponsoring an "International Burn a Koran Day" for the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, is in the news again.


This time it's because they're being assessed for taxes.


But not for the reasons you might think.


More here.





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Replies to This Discussion

all churches should be taxed.
as well as synagogues, and mosques.
Belief in the supernatural does not exempt you from paying earthly Taxes . This ridiculous grandfathered in tax exempt status is just nuts . Legalized tax shelters for snake oil salesmen and all manner of hucksters - just disgusting
Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's.

I want to see an investigation into all of those churches that endorsed a candidate from the pulpit, too, since they're blatantly violating their tax-exempt contract, or whatever it's considered.
There's a very real consequence of all this. About 9,000 teachers in Florida would have lost their jobs were it not for the latest stimulus bill. This at a time when Florida ranks consistently in the bottom half of all states in the level of its 8th grade math and science instruction (South Carolina is higher in science--only Mississippi and California scored lower).

Why is that important? Well, for one thing, education is paid for locally, largely through property taxes. In the current recession, property values are declining, so the tax revenue they generate is declining too. The question then becomes, what percentage of Florida properties, particularly in Gainesville, is owned by religious institutions and therefore exempt from property tax.

According to The Gainesville Sun, The Dove World Outreach Center sits on property "valued at more than $1.6 million, but the 1,700-square-foot taxable portion is worth only $135,000, meaning the church's annual tax bill will be roughly $3,200." In other words, less than 10 percent of its property is being taxed. By failing to pay taxes on its property, the church is robbing the children of Gainesville of over $30,000 that could be used to improve education in the city.

By the way, DWOC is not classified as one of Florida's 100 megachurches, according to the Hartford Institute for Religious Research's "Megachurch Database."

Time for some numbers. If DWOC is not a megachurch and it potentially costs the state $30,000 in lost revenue for education, it is reasonable to assume that the state's 100 megachurches cost the state at least $30,000 as well. 100 x 30,000 = $3 million in lost revenue at least, and the number is certainly much higher since those churches are much bigger, and it does not include all of the 9,310 churches listed in the database for Florida.

If we were to guesstimate with the roughest figures that each church's tax exempt status costs the state $20,000, the lost revenue on education (police, sanitation, fire department) comes to 9,000 x $20,000 = $180,000,000. Admittedly, the $20,000 figure is a guesstimate, but I believe that it is low, considering that the DWOC costs approximately $30,000. Considering that Florida's education budget is $800 million in the hole, even this low estimate of lost revenue could help.
I don't think any person on here would ever question the need to tax all the religious institutions currently considered tax free.




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