Loading
Local officials challenge tax exemption for closed churches in Pennsylvania

.- The Diocese of Allentown’s closure of several churches has prompted two school districts and two municipalities to try to levy property taxes on the closed parishes. The government entities argue that the properties have lost their tax-exempt status by closing.

The Bethlehem Area School District, which faces a deficit of nearly $5 million, plans to appeal the tax-exempt status of four closed south Bethlehem churches.

''If a private citizen had a warehouse, we'd have to tax them,” said district superintendent Joseph Lewis, according to the Morning Call.

The four churches reportedly have a total assessed value of $928,700 and would require $40,045 in taxes if their exempt status is ended.

The Panther Valley School District wants to tax seven closed churches in Carbon and Schuylkill counties.

Beaver Meadows and Banks township have also appealed the tax status of closed churches, meaning eight closed churches could be reassessed.

The Diocese of Allentown closed nearly 50 churches in the summer of 2008 in response to a priest shortage and a population shift from the city to the suburbs.

Diocesan spokesman Matt Kerr did not say how the diocese might respond to the taxation proposals, saying that the diocese is “monitoring the situation and assessing our options.”

According to the Morning Call, the Monday meeting of the Bethlehem school board showed tensions over the reassessment effort.

''Why are we going after them?'' asked School Director Rosie Amato, a Catholic. ''I can't believe we would do something like this.''

She said the law is too ambiguous to challenge the diocese, which she said is facing the same economic problems the government is.

Director Irene Follweiler, also a Catholic, said the board has a duty to determine which properties are exempt and which are not.

“If they truly fall under the tax-exempt umbrella, fine. If not, we should tax them,” she said, the Morning Call reports.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
24

Liturgical Calendar

April 24, 2014

Thursday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:35-48

Gospel
Date
04/24/14
04/23/14
04/22/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 3:11-26
Gospel:: Lk 24:35-48

Saint of the Day

Easter Sunday »

Saint
Date
04/24/14
04/22/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 24:35-48

Homily
Date
04/24/14
04/23/14
04/22/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: