Friday, October 30, 2009

Why do we have tax exempt status in the first place

Volokh makes a good point that tax exemptions for churches would be impossible to eliminate as long as other organizations retain theirs. Which raises the obvious question as to why do tax exemptions exist at all and why isn't this a bigger issue for conservatives?

Obviously there are any number of tax exempt non profits that do all kinds of good work that I support, just as there are a good number that do work that I think we'd be better off without.
But either way their tax exempt status amounts to a subsidy that we're required to dole out regardless of what we think of them or their work. I'd really rather not be paying higher taxes because the two Catholic churches in neighborhood that sit on prime real estate pay none. But I do, and so do you...

I'd support a complete dissolution of tax exempt status but retain deductions for giving. If we're to involve the tax code at all that strikes me as far more equitable and it strikes me further that this should be an abiding issue for conservatives, but having been largely co-opted by fundamentalist Christians this is a point no politician would ever attempt to make. However its difficult for me to process the status an anything other than a governmental preference for certain activities over others with the contribution to the common good being difficult if not impossible to quantify.

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