Religious groups should be taxed

imagesMC9Y7C4B          megachurch

At a time when we are being encouraged to tighten our belts to fund the budget deficit, Tony Abbott is ignoring a huge source of lost revenue, in the tax exemptions enjoyed by religious organisations in this country. It has been estimated that churches and their subsidiary commercial businesses are costing taxpayers 30 billion dollars every year in Australia. Pizza chains, coffee shop franchises, and cereal manufacturers all benefit from this loophole in the tax laws, while those businesses with no church affiliation struggle to compete.

Whilst a small portion of religious activity is charitable in the sense that it helps the less fortunate members of society in the form of soup kitchens, women’s refuges and the like, the vast majority of religious spending is dedicated to furthering the cause of religion itself. While the current legislation may consider this to be a charitable cause, I think most people would agree with me that it’s absolutely not.

Extending the funding for the school chaplaincy program to the tune of a quarter of a billion dollars over the next four years, whilst removing the option for schools to use this money to employ a trained secular youth counsellor, is another example of the PM’s religious bias creeping into government policy.

Peter Rowney
Lemon Tree Passage

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