In August, the small town just north of Kansas City passed the so-called “driveway tax,” a controversial charge, in addition to property taxes, for residents and businesses based on the number of times their driveway is used.
It is unpopular with residents. But the town’s problem is that they did not exempt Churches. Since the tax is based on how many times the driveway is used, it is seen as a tax on Church attendance. Two of local Churches are suing:
“The Baptist church for instance has to pay 900 dollars a year, while the more popular St. Pius is charged $1700 a year.
Stanley, who is an attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund, a national organization that protects religious rights, is now representing the two churches in a lawsuit against Mission.
He calls the revenue program “a tax on church attendance.”
“The city of mission is taxing churches based on the number of people that come in and out of their driveway, the number of people that come to church,” he said.
Mission’s Mayor Laura McConwell, who has overseen the proposal and implementation of the program disagrees.
“This is not a tax,” She said in a telephone interview. “This is a fee.”
Right just like our annual vehicle registration fee, which is quite high in Iowa, is not a tax.
A tax by any other name is still a tax.
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