Sunday, September 16, 2007

From the opinion pages ...

Rounding up today's editorial page at the Athens Banner-Herald ...

- I put some initial thoughts regarding Jason Winders's take on the Glenn Tax, but I do want to build on that somewhat here. His point, which is will taken, is that its opponents need a plan. While I still maintain the most important thing at this given moment is merely defeating this terrible idea, the suggestion that a plan is needed doesn't necessarily match up with reality. That is, discussion about how best to address property taxes has been going on for years, but it's been going on in its appropriate place ... and that's at the local level. Here in Athens-Clarke County, we've had several candidates incorporate different elements of property tax relief or reform into their platforms.

- I disagree with J.T., who talked about removing the tax-exempt status for churches, but I also think this particular line of argument is flawed ...

Part of the rationale for treating churches as non-taxable entities is that they provide something of value to the community - most concretely in regard to the social-service work that most of them do in feeding and clothing the economically disadvantaged - that offsets the fact they don't pay property taxes.

That's fine. But what about those individuals who contribute volunteer time or write checks to organizations like Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross or their local food bank? They can't go down to the tax assessor's office with a canceled check or a record of the time they've given to charitable work and suggest that their property tax bills be reduced or negated as a result of the service they've provided to the community.

We already have a system in place which compensates individuals for their service. If you give money to a charity, you can deduct it from your income tax. If you contribute time to a particular organization, that organization can log those hours and count toward grants and other forms of assistance.

- Bill Shipp. Newt? Seriously? Honestly, does he even have any sense of what is actually going on with state politics anymore?


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