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The Arizona State Senate and House of Representatives voted to raise your property taxes statewide by $2.1M in order to give a tax handout to religious groups who lease property.
Groups including the Faithful Word Baptist Church of Tempe, a hate group that has earned "church" status for tax exemptions.
House Bill 2281, currently on the Governor's desk, is not the kind of legislation that will galvanize opposition the way the virulently regressive SB 1062 did. But make no mistake: HB 2281 is yet another way for far-right lawmakers to curry favor with Cathi Herrod’s Center for Arizona Policy and the narrow, fundamentalist interests it represents.
The CAP-written bill is little more than taxpayer-funded giveaway to religious institutions – groups that are already free from most taxes – in the guise of a banal revision to Arizona’s property tax laws. If passed, HB 2281 would re-classify properties leased to religious organizations in a way that would cost the state $2.1 million.
That $2.1 million could be used to fund our malnourished public education programs, provide job training in a state that suffers an 8.2 percent unemployment rate, or support frustratingly anemic solar programs in the sunniest state in the US.
But none of those options – small investments that will pay huge dividends – would mollify zealots like CAP. So the legislature will continue bowing to special interests that represent a tiny sliver of the state’s otherwise moderate population.