Georgia Baptist Convention urges ‘no’ vote on tax overhaul

House and Senate Republicans are working furiously this afternoon to massage the proposed tax overhaul into a form that will fly with wary members of both GOP caucuses.

One reason for the sudden footwork is this e-mail from the top lobbyist for the Georgia Baptist Convention, sent to its massive network of churches:

The new Georgia Tax Policy that is being debated in the GA House of Representatives today will not allow tax deductions for charity or church giving. It is important that you contact your House of Representatives member today and tell them you are opposed to that change in the GA Tax Policy.

…It is urgent that you do this today and send this information to your contacts as well so they can do the same.

H. Ray Newman

State Missionary

Ethics and Public Affairs

Georgia Baptist Convention

6405 Sugarloaf Parkway

Duluth, GA 30097

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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108 comments Add your comment

Tom

March 30th, 2011
1:11 pm

Anyone have a link to a latest revision?

jconservative

March 30th, 2011
1:12 pm

Ending a deduction is the same as raising taxes.

Why are Georgia Republicans addicted to raising taxes?

Why not just cut spending by cutting the size of state government?

Just asking.

No dog in this hunt

March 30th, 2011
1:22 pm

jconservative: They are cutting. Look at the Universities and k-12 education. The state patrol ignores certain parts of the state during the early morning. Our GBI crime labs are closing and we are releasing violent offenders because we can’t get them to trial in a timely manner. These are the costs of being 49th in the country in per capita taxes.

The next move is to cut the taxes on those making over $180k per year and transfer it to those making less.

The Snark

March 30th, 2011
1:28 pm

jconservative:

Maybe it’s because a very few of them still feel a tiny, lingering sense of responsibility. But don’t worry, it will be snuffed out in short order by the Tea Party. And then you can have all the tax cuts you want, and a government that works something like Somalia.

Centrist

March 30th, 2011
1:38 pm

The whole thing probably needs to be junked and worked again over the rest of the year. It is a good idea, but was cobbled together too late without enough public (not just lobbyists) input.

Georgia Girl

March 30th, 2011
1:43 pm

The next time ou are have to wait in line for a driver’s license for 6 hours, you might regret the comment about cutting state government.

Clinton "Skink" Tyree

March 30th, 2011
1:45 pm

Churches are big business who promote political agendas and have forfeited their right to a tax exempt status, IMHO.

Arlito

March 30th, 2011
1:45 pm

During the Bush years, we were told that charities and churches would need to step up and supply needed food programs, daycare, and outreach because the government couldn’t (or wouldn’t) afford to provide those services. Now the GOP in Georgia is essentially killing the funding (tax-deductible donations) for those charities. Nice.

deegee

March 30th, 2011
1:51 pm

Why not revamp the tax code and make everybody pay income tax at a low, progressive rate. Top it out at 10% with no deductions, no EITC, no money back in April, no social engineering. I wonder if we would do better or worse financially?

freidenker

March 30th, 2011
1:52 pm

amen, CST. all things ‘church’ should be taxed like any other business, …pay income tax on all donations, properties, et al. only fair to those of us taxed out the wazoo who don’t believe such nonsense.

John K

March 30th, 2011
1:57 pm

The Georgia Baptist Convention needs that money to stick their nose into everyone’s personal business!

Centrist

March 30th, 2011
2:00 pm

While I agree that “churches” should not be tax exempt – such a change has as much chance with Republicans as socialism. The Democrats never went after that when they were in power. Most of the added socialist experiments (not the damage and programs in place) is behind us for a while at the federal level.

GaBlue

March 30th, 2011
2:03 pm

Yes, tax the churches!

Lucy

March 30th, 2011
2:08 pm

the original and still the best John Galt

March 30th, 2011
2:13 pm

Good for the Baptists! This hodge-podge mess needs to be opposed.

Real Athens

March 30th, 2011
2:16 pm

In the relatively small downtown of Athens — 5 city blocks by 5 city blocks — churches occupy nearly 3 whole blocks. They don’t pay a dime in property taxes like every other business in town does. However, they for-profit child care, meeting space for other organizations and private school.

It’s time to end tax-exempt status for these leeches. Also, if they are going to engage in lobbying they should have to register to do so.

For all the cries of “Christian Prosecution” they lost sight of their mission long ago.

WWJD, indeed. If you truly follow his words — all of them, not cherry picking for your “cause” — you’d find this plainly obvious. Modern churches have become the “false prophets” warned about in Revelations.

What if the Rapture comes and nobody goes?

deegee

March 30th, 2011
2:19 pm

Good luck with taxing religion. That is one truly bipartisan untouchable.

jarvis

March 30th, 2011
2:21 pm

@Real, how are their schools and child care programs “for profit”? Do you know what that means? Is the “profit” being distributed to the church’s ownership?

What do they do with their “profits”?

Last Man Standing

March 30th, 2011
2:26 pm

No dog in this hunt:
The Snark:

So your recommendation is to raise taxes? In a plummeting economy and unemployment above 10%, do you think raiding taxes is the answer to our problems?

GaBlue

March 30th, 2011
2:30 pm

Welcome to the Church of Georgia Blue! (Praise Jesus!) Send ME your money, and I will forgive your sins, berate your neighbors who are different from you, lead you in some lovely hymn singing (I can hit the high notes, as long as I don’t have to hit too many), and lobby the legislature to pass more legal restrictions on everyone who gives you the creeps. Hallelujah! Send ME your money, and do it now, so I can file for my tax exemptions and begin doing “God’s work” (in MY life!) Heh…. Whatcha waitin’ for?

Last Man Standing

March 30th, 2011
2:35 pm

deegee:

A progressive tax is unfair because it taxes those who make more money more than those who earn less money. I do completely agree that EVERYONE should be taxed and that the EITC should be eleiminated. Actually, the EITC is nothing more than redistribution of wealth.

If you tax higher income earners at a higher rate, you are in affect punishing them for being more productive thus descouraging their behavior. If you tax lower income earners at a lower rate, you encourage (reward) that behavior.

Tired of BS

March 30th, 2011
2:36 pm

I am a christian too, but it’s time for the churches to back away from the political troff. If they insist on lobbying for their personal monetary gain, then we should insist that they pay taxes just like the members of their congregations.

Real Athens

March 30th, 2011
2:36 pm

Jarvis:

Nonprofit organizations can and do make a profit, but it must be used solely for the operation of the organization or, in the case of a foundation, granted to other nonprofit organizations.

Buying private land downtown to increase the size of a rectory, or to build an adjacent parking lot or to build a gymnasium without increasing matriculation or the number of children in a day care program is “for profit” or an illegal non-profit at the least.

Split hairs, semantics, whatever you want to call it.

Bill Dipstung

March 30th, 2011
2:46 pm

Mega churches are Mega businesses with vast properties and many holdings. The day of the small country churches are almost a thing of the past. Something must be done.

Lee Howell

March 30th, 2011
2:47 pm

I like the idea of reducing the number of Georgia counties to about 50-60.

I wouldn’t be opposed to a flat income tax, if it also included dividend type income, and not merely salaries and wages.

I don’t like this bill, and I don’t like the idea of rushing it through without adequate time for discussion. Not that most Georgians pay attention anyway.

OneFreeMan

March 30th, 2011
2:50 pm

Drop the income tax and increase the sales tax(no exemptions).

pete

March 30th, 2011
2:50 pm

yes tax the churches.I pay taxes for everything I get!

detritusUSA

March 30th, 2011
2:51 pm

If the only reason you give to church or charity is for the tax deduction, then you’re giving for the wrong reason.

td

March 30th, 2011
3:00 pm

If we are going to tax the churches then we are saying we are taxing all giving. Let us then tax the money we give to our children. When a parent buys a car for their child then they should pay the state 6% of the purchase price because it is a gift. When a parent pays for the college tuition for a child then the state should get 6% of that as well.

Yes, let us show so more wealth envy and tax everything so that we can redistribute it to those non-producers so they can feel better about themselves.

Aquagirl

March 30th, 2011
3:11 pm

Boy, those churches get there lickety-split when their cash flow is at stake.

Reality Check

March 30th, 2011
3:13 pm

Right now, you are allowed to deuduct tithes and offerings on your personal income tax–the proposed change is to eliminate that personal deduction. The churches know that if the personal deduction is removed, people won’t contribute as much. And as a previous poster stated, the government has said churches needed to step up their programs. Quit telling us you are not raising taxes while you are tacking on new taxes to every service you can think of and taking away what we can now deduct. By the way–could I get in on ome of those dinners and snacks provided by lobbyists? Food has already been cut out of my budget.

GaBlue

March 30th, 2011
3:20 pm

td,

Contrary to what you’ve chosen to swallow, churches are indeed selling a product for money. You’re not “giving” them money, you’re paying them for what they’re selling. So yes, they should pay taxes on it.

GaBlue

March 30th, 2011
3:27 pm

…if they’re not “selling” their product, then why do I get junk-mail advertising from them in my mail box, along with similar flyers for carpet cleaners, painting services, and chinese food? Yep. Chinese food buffets & that churched-up feeling: both for sale on Sunday mornings at a location near you!

Keep doing this GOP

March 30th, 2011
3:42 pm

Im not worried what this will do to the churches as much as orgainizations like Goodwill who will be hurt the most at the passage of this so called tax reduction bill.

One thing i do not trust is when a Republican starts messing with taxes .

Mine have gone up two years in a row. Property and that Hospital tax.

DW (the real one)

March 30th, 2011
3:52 pm

TD = total d0uche bag

deegee

March 30th, 2011
4:01 pm

I don’t completely agree that high income earners are more productive than low income earners. There are plenty of high income earners on Wall Street and K Street that have produced nothing tangible for the work that they do. On the other hand, there are thousands of school teachers and police officers that make a fraction of what a lawyer would make but are much more productive from a cost/benefit perspective. I think that taxing a high income lobbyist or pill salesrep at the same rate as a fire fighter is unfair by any measure.

DW (the real one)

March 30th, 2011
4:05 pm

^^ that rationale makes WAY too much sense for republicans though. Its all about kicking the little guy

Centrist

March 30th, 2011
4:07 pm

Why is it that it is mostly liberals doing the name calling on these posts? Maybe because there are more liberals than conservatives who patronize the AJC.

Rambunz

March 30th, 2011
4:12 pm

I say tax the churches. We need the money to go to war.

Fed Up

March 30th, 2011
4:12 pm

For all of those supporting taking away donations to churches, please do your research as to who much churches support all of our local charities. My own church annually sends $1,000,000 to local non-proft organizations that help homeless and needy individuals. Much of this support will disappear without the tax credit.

Fed Up

March 30th, 2011
4:13 pm

@GA Blue and others – read the bill..it is not taxing churches..it will be increasing the tax bill for those who GIVE to the churches by removing the existing tax credit for doing so!

LMAO

March 30th, 2011
4:16 pm

@Fed Up and others do you really think the Republicans in this state really are concerned about the unintended consequences of their actions? Its absolute power and it is corrupt.Tax and spend Republicans it is a new day.

Honest Abe

March 30th, 2011
4:21 pm

Wake up. Obama wanted to do the same thing. It’s not just churches. All charities would be hurt. Charitable deductions would go away for high-income earners. They give the most. Another bone-headed move that will wind up putting more social services in control of the state instead of non-profits as their funds will dwindle.

GaBlue

March 30th, 2011
4:24 pm

Fed up,

I’m aware of that, and I oppose the bill. (Not that my rep cares what I think…) I’m not alone when I say “tax the churches!” whenever the issue of taxes comes up. I guaran-darn-TEE you that I pay a whopping portion of my middle-class, stagnant income in taxes (and “fees”) — more every year, and still more if this bill passes. I’m tired of carrying the poor, rich, and exempt on my back while corporations, utilities and insurance companies jack me up year after year while THEY get the tax breaks. It’s time for somebody else to kick in for a change so we can pay teachers & cops and fix our infrastructure already. Why can’t the churches do that? Are they greedy or something? (Nevermind. No need to answer. The war on the middle class relies on blind allegiance to churches.)

jd

March 30th, 2011
4:25 pm

Cue the chorus .. “They passed a bill without reading it”

The Snark

March 30th, 2011
4:26 pm

Last Man Standing:

The Snark believes there ought to be an honest public discussion of the link between taxes and government responsibilities. There isn’t. There is only the constant chant of “taxes bad, taxes bad” and a grossly irresponsible attitude toward the role of government.

It’s easy to complain about government and taxes until government gets to the point where (a) it has to borrow astronomical amounts to continue functioning (the federal government) or (b) it loses the ability to carry out core functions (Georgia state governement.)

And if you don’t think our state government has lost the ability to carry out core functions, then just go watch those fires burn down south and ask the emergency crews what kind of equipment and personnel they had eight years ago. Or ask any regulatory agency how much of its enforcement staff has been lost since 2002.

Last Man Standing

March 30th, 2011
4:35 pm

DW (the real one):

DW = DimWit

mjct1

March 30th, 2011
4:36 pm

I have always wanted the churches to be taxed. Then the churches can truly render the fight that the unjust need the support from. The churches will no longer have to sit back and be led by men that have faults that are not acceptable in the word. Was it not Peter that was told by Jesus to go reach into the mouth of a fish and pay your taxes. I always says that here is where we should learn that the Lord will provide. The word also covers the reality of render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and render unto God what belongs to God. We worry in the church that we will be missing something if we pay taxes. Remember, every Sunday the word go forth that the Lord will supply your every need. When the church tell the government “You no longer will buy me out with a Tax Exemption”. The Church to the Government, “You no longer will buy me out with Faith Based Programs that you the Government will give me the Money to be quiet.” The Church to the Government “I will now call upon You (Government) to operate as You were established many years ago, ONE NATION, UNDER GOD, WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE, YES JUSTICE FOR ALL!!!!!!!

td

March 30th, 2011
4:40 pm

Last Man Standing

March 30th, 2011
4:35 pm
DW (the real one):

DW = DimWit
(the real one)

td

March 30th, 2011
4:52 pm

The Snark

March 30th, 2011
4:26 pm

“it loses the ability to carry out core functions (Georgia state governement.)

And if you don’t think our state government has lost the ability to carry out core functions, then just go watch those fires burn down south and ask the emergency crews what kind of equipment and personnel they had eight years ago. Or ask any regulatory agency how much of its enforcement staff has been lost since 2002.”

Maybe the answer is looking at what are the core functions of the state government. What can we do without? Should we being paying for health care coverage for 25% of the citizens of this state or should we be paying for fire coverage? Should we be subsidizing the cost of children to attend college (and I am not talking about HOPE)? Is it the states responsibility to subsidise the heating/cooling cost and housing cost for its citizens? Is it the states responsibility to pay to educate the children of illegal aliens? Are these core responsibilities of the state?