Politicians are such scum. They can’t do the hard business of balancing their budgets (not that I think this is the time to balance budgets) so they are now looking for new tax victims. The New York Times reports today that in many states nonprofits are the new victims.
Hawaii has a bill that would slap a one percent excise tax on charities, and Kansas has a proposal to make them subject to sales tax. Charities now have to pay the street light fee in Minneapolis.
The sheer stupidity of these policies is obvious. Nonprofits feed the poor, train the unemployed, provide health care and generally do the good deeds that need to be done to keep the poor and crazy together in tough times. They mostly operate through donations, or other public sources like state and federal grants. Is it not counterproductive to take with one hand the money we give them with another?
What is really idiotic about this in all cases is that they have exempted the churches from these taxes. While I will concede that there are some churches that do real charitable work, most of them are useless. They spend their money to hire preachers and support their palaces of worship. They harbor pedofiles and obstruct health reform legislation. They promote hatred of gay and lesbian citizens. Few if any feed the poor, provide health care or do anything else useful.
Let me suggest a constructive solution. Tax the churches. Grant them reasonable deductions for actual charitable works, but tax them on any money they collect to support the rest of their substantial infrastructure. Perhaps this new tax structure will provide an incentive to them to perform actual works of charity.