The religious-right wing of the Arizona legislature like to quietly push bills through that will benefit their agenda in several ways. What we've found is that when we are LOUD about these bills, sometimes the bill dies.
Check out what happened this week in what we're calling the "Trinity of Religious Handouts":
Handout #1- HB2281: Expanding Religious Privilege in Tax Law
You've heard us talk about it and we're not giving up until this bill dies. What this Center for Arizona Policy bill does is pick winners and losers in property tax code.
The winners: Churches.
The losers: Everyone else. To the tune of $2.1M. That's the amount that JLBC estimates of property tax revenue that will be shifted to other property owners if this bill passes. Read the fiscal note here.
While this bill is not currently moving, it could easily move next week. Keep up the pressure and stay loud on this bill (see our "Action Alert" section below to take action).
Handout #2: SB1303: Giving a Property Tax Break to Grand Canyon University, a Christian-based Private College
Thanks to the LOUD attention to this bill, it died in Rules committee on Wednesday!
Handout #3: $500,000 giveaway to non-profit that mixes Christian doctrine in with helping the homeless and hungry
Hidden deep in the budget bill is a section of proposed law that would give a $500,000 capitol grant to thePhoenix Rescue Mission:
"Our mission is to provide Christ-centered, life-transforming solutions to persons facing hunger and homelessness."
While the Secular Coalition for Arizona supports helping the homeless and feeding the hungry, we do not support the manner in which this money is proposed for appropriation, and we certainly don't support public money funding proselytizing to a vulnerable population.
Capitol Grants normally go through the Department of Housing and all groups who help the homeless would normally be able to apply for the money. This appropriation bypasses the Dept of Housing and instead gives the money to the Department of Economic Security to give to this organization.