Landowners who lease property to churches would get a big tax break under terms of legislation given Senate approval on Tuesday.

Current law sets the taxable value of church-owned property used for religious purposes at 1 percent of its “fair market value.” By contrast, residential property is assessed at 10 percent of its property; commercial land has a 19.5 percent assessment.

HB 2281 would apply that 1 percent assessment rate in cases where churches rent their space, with the presumption the property owner would pass along the savings to the church.

Sen. Ed Ableser, D-Tempe, argued that lower property taxes paid by some mean higher taxes on everyone else to make up the difference, but Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, said it's only fair, saying there's no reason that churches rich enough to own their own buildings should get a tax break that's not available to congregations that have to rent.

The 16-14 vote sends the measure to the governor.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.