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Newspaper Page Text
SHOULD CHURCH PAY TAXES?
BY THE-REV, CHARLESSTELZLE
There are some people who believe
churches should pay taxes like other
. organizations and not all those who
believe this are opposed to the
Why aren't churches taxed?
Because it is supposed they are
rendering a service to the state or
to the community which is 'worth at
least the equivalent of the taxes they
-would otherwise pay.
If a church is conducted purely for
the benefit of a handful of people
'who make no contribution toward
the social welfare of the community
that is, if the church has become
merely a kind of exclusive club -then
it should be taxed just like -any other
Or if a church is located hva sec
tion of the city which requires much
social effort to meet tne, neeas or roe
people living in tenements, for exam
pie, and if that church fails to per
form any kind ofrsociar service, then
it should be taxed.
Sometimes -church property in
"downtown" districts 1b sold for
many times what was originally paid
for it, and the proceeds are used to
build a fine church, miles away from
the original site.
But who made the old property
Chiefly the people in the neighbor
hood who paid taxes, even those who
live in tenements.
Therefore they have a stakfc in the
property of the church, aftd the
church is bound to see to it that
these people get some benefit from
the property which they helped make
The only way the church can do
this is to establish, in the community,
with part of the proceeds of the sale
of the property, some kind of institu
tion which will benefit these people.
This is particularly true if there is
left in the church only a remnant of
the old' church membership which
originally brought the church prop
erty that has been spld. Those who
are left rarely spent any 0 their own
money for the church property.
But It should be remembered that '
the spiritual Influence exerted by the
church also "has a .social value, If
men and women are kept from wick
edness and crime through the
church, then it is helping to keep
down taxes and making the commu
nity and the city a better place to
It is difficult tq estimate this serv
ice in money values, but there's no
doubt that on the whole the influ-.
ence of the church in this direction
is worth more than all the taxes it
might be called upon to pay.
LEGISLATIVE BODY REPdRT IS
Medill McCormick legislative com
mittee to report today on untilities isv
expected to recommend that con-'
trolling power should be placed in
the hands-of the city council.
The petition drawn by Aid. Mer
riam asking state legislature for con
trolling power over utilities to be
granted 'city council was adopted by"
council yesterday. It says the ques
tion of factory locations, street car
routes, real estate, park systems, are
all tied up with each other and the
city council should have complete
authority .to handle all these propo
sitions. Mayor Thompson sent council a
bill recommended by Association of
Commerce for authorizing city to
build and maintain a "town-hall for
the nation," It's to be a convention
hall and the A. of C. officers want it
on a pier or on the lake front After
the city has paid for It with special
tax moneys, the city shall also pay
all deficits of operation cost
Finance committee shaved off 10
per cent from all salaries oyer
$4,000. among appointive city officer