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(Patheos)   Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers proposes bill that would require churches pay property taxes. Being aware of its chances of passing on its own, he says he may attach it as an amendment to bills he opposes   (patheos.com ) divider line
    More: Amusing, Ernie Chambers, amendments, property taxes, churches, African-American Nebraska State Senator, Lincoln Journal Star, Hemant Mehta, Catholic Church hierarchy  
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1729 clicks; posted to Politics » on 25 Jan 2014 at 4:32 AM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-01-25 12:21:54 AM  
Meh, most churches would still qualify as a non-profit on the rest of the terms.  Only the truly Prosperity Gospel churches might not.

But even if it passed, it would run up to the Supreme Court, and that might be a fight worth having, just to settle the issue once and for all.
 
2014-01-25 12:38:34 AM  
This isn't Chambers' first public battle against religion. In 2007, he famously sued God just to make a statement. Last year, during a filibuster, her remarked that the Mafia has higher standards than the Catholic Church hierarchy because if their members were "raping children, they'd off them." And last March, he expertly took down an "ex-gay" man as well as a Christian psychologist making arguments against pro-LGBT legislation.

Man crush.
 
2014-01-25 01:04:10 AM  
I'm almost tempted to move to Nebraska just to vote for him, then. Giving a group preferential exemptions from the tax code just because of their establishment of religion is blatantly unconstitutional.
 
2014-01-25 01:06:21 AM  
suddenly obstructionism is hip again
 
2014-01-25 01:16:21 AM  
a black atheist holds public office....in Nebraska

I'm honestly shocked by this.
 
2014-01-25 01:19:15 AM  

BravadoGT: suddenly obstructionism is hip again


How is this obstructionism?

Seriously, please tell us. I've got popcorn ready and everything.
 
2014-01-25 04:35:46 AM  
So, business as usual?
 
2014-01-25 04:45:51 AM  
I want to have this man's babies.

/difficulty: I'm a man
//that's the kind of love I have for this guy
 
2014-01-25 04:49:22 AM  

log_jammin: a black atheist holds public office....in Nebraska

I'm honestly shocked by this.


Bonus, he's been elected every term since 1970.  Also I know people will accuse him of grandstanding but keep in mind how many times state(hell even Federal) Republicans have tried to tack on insane riders to legislation.  He's doing this to prove a point.
 
2014-01-25 04:50:43 AM  
Artist's conception of Sen. Ernie Chambers:

i18.photobucket.com
 
2014-01-25 04:53:12 AM  

BravadoGT: suddenly obstructionism is hip again


He isn't obstructing anything. All they need to do is accept his perfectly reasonable proposition that all money making institutions should pay taxes. No problem.
Looks different from the other side of the glass, doesn't it?
 
2014-01-25 04:55:52 AM  
This is much needed in parts of the Dallas Ft Worth metroplex. Some towns are so littered with sprawling christian churches it's cutting into their tax base. This would encourage churches to have a building more in line with the message you find in the bible. You know, more in line with that carpenter fellow, who could chat with the masses without ornate buildings or clothes.
 
2014-01-25 04:57:55 AM  

grumpfuff: BravadoGT: suddenly obstructionism is hip again

How is this obstructionism?

Seriously, please tell us. I've got popcorn ready and everything.


I think the bill sounds good, but I would agree that trying to attach it as an irrelevant poison pill to bills you oppose, rather than accepting a vote on the merits (of your bill and the ones you're poisoning), seems pretty obstructionist.

(Not to say that a little of the far right's own medicine wouldn't be good for them.)

/how the hell is this guy getting elected? is there another "Nebraska" that I'm not aware of?
 
2014-01-25 05:00:26 AM  

wildcardjack: This is much needed in parts of the Dallas Ft Worth metroplex. Some towns are so littered with sprawling christian churches it's cutting into their tax base. This would encourage churches to have a building more in line with the message you find in the bible. You know, more in line with that carpenter fellow, who could chat with the masses without ornate buildings or clothes.


You want people to preach nude? Sign me up for that.
 
2014-01-25 05:10:02 AM  

wildcardjack: This is much needed in parts of the Dallas Ft Worth metroplex. Some towns are so littered with sprawling christian churches it's cutting into their tax base. This would encourage churches to have a building more in line with the message you find in the bible. You know, more in line with that carpenter fellow, who could chat with the masses without ornate buildings or clothes.


And "churches" house and operate a wide array of tangentially-related-at-best enterprises which compete with the unsubsidized taxpaying businesses in the surrounding community.
 
2014-01-25 05:30:17 AM  

Solid State Vittles: In 2007, he sued God just to make a statement.


'In February 2008, Nebraska Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal and vacated the district court's order. Appeals Court ruled that  'Court does not address issues of fiction.'
 
2014-01-25 06:22:45 AM  

Solid State Vittles: This isn't Chambers' first public battle against religion. In 2007, he famously sued God just to make a statement.


s2.quickmeme.com
 
2014-01-25 06:23:39 AM  

Lsherm: Meh, most churches would still qualify as a non-profit on the rest of the terms.  Only the truly Prosperity Gospel churches might not.

But even if it passed, it would run up to the Supreme Court, and that might be a fight worth having, just to settle the issue once and for all.


Very little is settled "once and for all"
 
2014-01-25 06:32:57 AM  

Monkeyfark Ridiculous: /how the hell is this guy getting elected? is there another "Nebraska" that I'm not aware of?


Very simple.  State senators have small districts and he is in a predominately black part of Omaha and he represents the people in his district very well.  This is no different from having, say, a tea party candidate in, say, Massachusetts.

I don't always agree with Ernie, but he almost always stake smart and controversial positions.   He once pushed for college football players to be paid more than the token amount they get as tuituion (seeing as the Cornhuskers bring in millions every year), screw the NCAA.   Or raise the speed limit from 55, screw the feds.

Every state should have an Ernie Chambers.
 
2014-01-25 07:18:46 AM  

log_jammin: a black atheist holds public office....in Nebraska

I'm honestly shocked by this.


There are black people in Nebraska?
 
2014-01-25 07:46:19 AM  

OooShiny: Solid State Vittles: In 2007, he sued God just to make a statement.

'In February 2008, Nebraska Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal and vacated the district court's order. Appeals Court ruled that  'Court does not address issues of fiction.'


Well, that seems to be a pretty powerful legal statement.  I wonder if someone could use that ruling as a precedent for overturning blue laws.
 
2014-01-25 07:56:11 AM  
Anyone who attaches legislation to other legislation purely to make it fail should be recalled.
 
2014-01-25 07:56:33 AM  

Descartes: Solid State Vittles: This isn't Chambers' first public battle against religion. In 2007, he famously sued God just to make a statement.

[s2.quickmeme.com image 625x475]


Heh. U mad?
 
2014-01-25 07:58:58 AM  

Lsherm: Meh, most churches would still qualify as a non-profit on the rest of the terms.  Only the truly Prosperity Gospel churches might not.

But even if it passed, it would run up to the Supreme Court, and that might be a fight worth having, just to settle the issue once and for all.


You're right, the word 'religious' in that law is probably redundant for most churches as their legal status with the IRS is as a non-profit, which could probably get them listed as 'charitable', and a large number also have graveyards attached, which would get them listed as 'cemetery'.

But for most churches, getting any appreciable tax revenue from them would be a Superman III penny-shaving idea.  My church, for example, is on a five or six acre lot in the middle of absolutely farking nowhere, ten miles from the nearest red light.  You aren't going to get a whole lot of property taxes out of it.

But something like Trinity Broadcasting Networks headquarters, complete with lush plantings, sparkling lion head fountains, a virtual reality theater, and located near many world famous attractions and shopping centers:
upload.wikimedia.org
Well, property taxes on that could probably fund a school or two all by itself.  And that's not even talking about Pat Robertson's church, which owns a friggin' diamond mine.
 
2014-01-25 08:02:59 AM  

NickelP: Anyone who attaches legislation to other legislation purely to make it fail should be recalled.


Well, sure, doing that is a dick move, but as long as it's allowed in the legislature's rules everybody will do it.  Those opposed to that rule should use it as often as possible just to underscore why it shouldn't be allowed.  That's one side effect of him attaching his bill to bills he opposes.  Using the system against itself to change the system is kind of an elegant solution, too.
 
2014-01-25 08:09:14 AM  
The measure is unlikely to advance out of committee. But Chambers says he may attach it as an amendment to other bills he opposes.

Aaaand you lost my support there.
 
2014-01-25 08:22:03 AM  

Lsherm: Meh, most churches would still qualify as a non-profit on the rest of the terms.  Only the truly Prosperity Gospel churches might not.

But even if it passed, it would run up to the Supreme Court, and that might be a fight worth having, just to settle the issue once and for all.


I don't want this issue before a SCOTUS with three Opus Dei members and Clarence Thomas on it
 
2014-01-25 08:25:13 AM  
This shouldn't have the amusing tag, subby, this should have the hero tag.
 
2014-01-25 08:25:33 AM  

Shirley Ujest: There are black people in Nebraska?


img.fark.net

"oh, hai!"
 
2014-01-25 08:28:52 AM  

Karac: Lsherm: Meh, most churches would still qualify as a non-profit on the rest of the terms.  Only the truly Prosperity Gospel churches might not.

But even if it passed, it would run up to the Supreme Court, and that might be a fight worth having, just to settle the issue once and for all.

You're right, the word 'religious' in that law is probably redundant for most churches as their legal status with the IRS is as a non-profit, which could probably get them listed as 'charitable', and a large number also have graveyards attached, which would get them listed as 'cemetery'.

But for most churches, getting any appreciable tax revenue from them would be a Superman III penny-shaving idea.  My church, for example, is on a five or six acre lot in the middle of absolutely farking nowhere, ten miles from the nearest red light.  You aren't going to get a whole lot of property taxes out of it.

But something like Trinity Broadcasting Networks headquarters, complete with lush plantings, sparkling lion head fountains, a virtual reality theater, and located near many world famous attractions and shopping centers:
[upload.wikimedia.org image 850x570]
Well, property taxes on that could probably fund a school or two all by itself.  And that's not even talking about Pat Robertson's church, which owns a friggin' diamond mine.


At the very least, I'd support a cap on the property tax exemption a church gets, like say only the first $1M of assessed value is exempt from taxes.  That would cover most small, neighborhood churches but keep palaces like that monstrosity shown in that picture from not paying their fair share.
 
2014-01-25 08:36:30 AM  
"When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its professors are obligated to call for help of the civil power, it's a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one."- Benjamin Franklin
 
2014-01-25 08:53:50 AM  

Flappyhead: log_jammin: a black atheist holds public office....in Nebraska

I'm honestly shocked by this.

Bonus, he's been elected every term since 1970.  Also I know people will accuse him of grandstanding but keep in mind how many times state(hell even Federal) Republicans have tried to tack on insane riders to legislation.  He's doing this to prove a point.


Not every term. Nebraska put in term limits for the sole intention of trying to get rid of Ernie and his being reelected time after time. After he left office for the minimum amount of terms absent, he just ran again for office and won back his former seat.
 
2014-01-25 08:55:03 AM  
Karac:  And that's not even talking about Pat Robertson's church, which owns a friggin' diamond mine.

Greed and cruelty makes God smile.
 
2014-01-25 09:59:38 AM  
This is just stupid. Lots of historic churches were built when a congregation was doing really well, and the attendance has declined. Lots of them struggle as it is, and taxes on a big building would do them in. All this will do is cause the government to get into the business of repossessing churches that people have worshiped in for decades and which aren't particularly good for much except being churches.

As a bonus, you'd probably see a rise in prosperity gospel as less profitable views were forced out of their space.
 
2014-01-25 10:19:38 AM  

Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: This is just stupid. Lots of historic churches were built when a congregation was doing really well, and the attendance has declined. Lots of them struggle as it is, and taxes on a big building would do them in. All this will do is cause the government to get into the business of repossessing churches that people have worshiped in for decades and which aren't particularly good for much except being churches.

As a bonus, you'd probably see a rise in prosperity gospel as less profitable views were forced out of their space.


If they are not money-making enterprises they fall under secular non-profit rules.  If they own a damned DIAMOND MINE they deserve what they get.
 
2014-01-25 10:33:33 AM  
First thing that came to mind:

Speaker: Then it is unanimous, we are going to approve the bill to evacuate the town of Springfield in the great state of --
Congressman: Wait a minute, I want to tack on a rider to that bill: $30 million of taxpayer money to support the perverted arts.
Speaker: All in favor of the amended Springfield-slash-pervert bill? [everyone boos]
Speaker: Bill defeated. [bangs gavel]
Kent Brockman: I've said it before and I'll say it again: democracy simply doesn't work.
 
2014-01-25 10:49:07 AM  
Ernie does this shiat on purpose because state legislators like Mike Christensen want to pass bills arming schoolteachers. He's always been a dissenting voice against Nebraska Republicans' one-party rule over the state. So every now and then he pull stuff like this just to get their panties in a twist.
 
2014-01-25 10:50:03 AM  

dionysusaur: Lsherm: Meh, most churches would still qualify as a non-profit on the rest of the terms.  Only the truly Prosperity Gospel churches might not.

But even if it passed, it would run up to the Supreme Court, and that might be a fight worth having, just to settle the issue once and for all.

I don't want this issue before a SCOTUS with three Opus Dei members and Clarence Thomas on it


Oh, I do.  Internet liberals keep telling themselves that churches can be taxed and it would be nice to show them that there's a fundamental constitutional question at stake.  I'd like it even better if they struck down the non-profit exemption but kept the religious one, that might force people to think about what they are challenging.  There's very little thought put into the "tax churches" argument these days except "WE GET MORE MONEY!   HURRR!  DURRR!"
 
2014-01-25 10:50:34 AM  

TheBigJerk: Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: This is just stupid. Lots of historic churches were built when a congregation was doing really well, and the attendance has declined. Lots of them struggle as it is, and taxes on a big building would do them in. All this will do is cause the government to get into the business of repossessing churches that people have worshiped in for decades and which aren't particularly good for much except being churches.

As a bonus, you'd probably see a rise in prosperity gospel as less profitable views were forced out of their space.

If they are not money-making enterprises they fall under secular non-profit rules.  If they own a damned DIAMOND MINE they deserve what they get.


That's persecution, Jesus said.  "go forth my children and mine the earth for within are riches thou shall spent on luxury, for my father something something"
 
2014-01-25 10:54:58 AM  
ugh, diamond mines. there's a point where you have to acknowledge that you're no longer a church, and that point may be when you take ownership of a diamond mine.
 
2014-01-25 11:13:41 AM  

Lsherm: dionysusaur: Lsherm: Meh, most churches would still qualify as a non-profit on the rest of the terms.  Only the truly Prosperity Gospel churches might not.

But even if it passed, it would run up to the Supreme Court, and that might be a fight worth having, just to settle the issue once and for all.

I don't want this issue before a SCOTUS with three Opus Dei members and Clarence Thomas on it

Oh, I do.  Internet liberals keep telling themselves that churches can be taxed and it would be nice to show them that there's a fundamental constitutional question at stake.  I'd like it even better if they struck down the non-profit exemption but kept the religious one, that might force people to think about what they are challenging.  There's very little thought put into the "tax churches" argument these days except "WE GET MORE MONEY!   HURRR!  DURRR!"


The thought behind taxing churches is not "WE GET MORE MONEY! HURRR! DURRR!" It's that churches, specifically Christian ones, in this nation are trying to having a bigger influence on politics. Part of tax-exempt status implies you're not gonna get involved in politics(see: IRS targeting "scandal"). If churches would STFU about it, I'd have no problem with them keeping tax exempt. But since they want to get involved, they can pay their entrance fee like everyone else.
 
2014-01-25 11:24:30 AM  

HotWingAgenda: I'm almost tempted to move to Nebraska just to vote for him, then. Giving a group preferential exemptions from the tax code just because of their establishment of religion is blatantly unconstitutional.


On the other hand a tax on religion could be construed as  a restriction on its practice limiting to those who could pay the tax, similar to a poll tax when you vote.    Would you accept a free speech or privacy tax?  I would argue that a tax on firearms and ammo places similar restrictions on second amendment rights again based on the ability to pay the tax.

The absence of a tax alone does not constitute an endorsement by government, It would only be an endorsement if a specific religion was granted it while excluding others.

Taxation is effectively a restriction on an activity.  While yo may not like organized religion (I myself only go to church for weddings)  to practice a religion is as much a right  not being forced to practice one.


 Of course there is the problem of religion mixing in politics.  I think that is one of those taking the good with the  bad situations  While you may opposed  religious involvement in the politics of things like abortion or gay marriage but they have also been the birth place or lead the way in things like the abolitionist and civil rights movements.
 
2014-01-25 11:33:01 AM  

HotWingAgenda: I'm almost tempted to move to Nebraska just to vote for him, then. Giving a group preferential exemptions from the tax code just because of their establishment of religion is blatantly unconstitutional.


The idea is "No taxation without representation". Churches aren't taxed because they're supposed to stay out of government.

The real problem is that many of them aren't holding up their end of rhe bargain.

I'm okay with churches being tax exempt. I'm not okay with Liberty University being a Republican stump speech location or with a Catholic Bishop getting all butthurt because a governor said extreme conservatives should leave his state.
 
2014-01-25 11:34:53 AM  
FTFA

The purpose of LB 675 is to help the State gain more revenue, rather than less, by taking away churches' property tax exemptions.


  That argument that government needs more revenue is weapons grade stupid.  For  FY2014 it is estimated that Federal , State and Local combined revenue collections will be approx $6 TRILLION

Arguing that government needs more revenue is like arguing Vince Young had a problem of not enough income instead of a spending problem.
 
2014-01-25 11:43:09 AM  

hasty ambush: FTFA

The purpose of LB 675 is to help the State gain more revenue, rather than less, by taking away churches' property tax exemptions.


  That argument that government needs more revenue is weapons grade stupid.  For  FY2014 it is estimated that Federal , State and Local combined revenue collections will be approx $6 TRILLION

Arguing that government needs more revenue is like arguing Vince Young had a problem of not enough income instead of a spending problem.


Nebraska =/= total tax revenue of federal, state, and local

/go back to trolling with pictures
 
2014-01-25 11:49:34 AM  

BravadoGT: suddenly obstructionism is hip again


Yeah, except he's right. Please, show us more fake concern, threadshiatter.
 
2014-01-25 11:56:29 AM  

winterbraid: ugh, diamond mines. there's a point where you have to acknowledge that you're no longer a church, and that point may be when you take ownership of a diamond mine.


Yeah, seriously. Bit of a glaring loophole in the tax code.

That said, I see nothing wrong with tax exempt churches (you know, the ones that actually do charity work and actually help their local communities in a real way) as long as they stay the fark out of politics and are actually run as non profit orgs.
 
2014-01-25 12:14:53 PM  

Karac: Lsherm: Meh, most churches would still qualify as a non-profit on the rest of the terms.  Only the truly Prosperity Gospel churches might not.

But even if it passed, it would run up to the Supreme Court, and that might be a fight worth having, just to settle the issue once and for all.

You're right, the word 'religious' in that law is probably redundant for most churches as their legal status with the IRS is as a non-profit, which could probably get them listed as 'charitable', and a large number also have graveyards attached, which would get them listed as 'cemetery'.

But for most churches, getting any appreciable tax revenue from them would be a Superman III penny-shaving idea.  My church, for example, is on a five or six acre lot in the middle of absolutely farking nowhere, ten miles from the nearest red light.  You aren't going to get a whole lot of property taxes out of it.

But something like Trinity Broadcasting Networks headquarters, complete with lush plantings, sparkling lion head fountains, a virtual reality theater, and located near many world famous attractions and shopping centers:
[upload.wikimedia.org image 850x570]
Well, property taxes on that could probably fund a school or two all by itself.  And that's not even talking about Pat Robertson's church, which owns a friggin' diamond mine.


I imagine New York City could reap a windfall from this piece of prime Midtown real estate.

graphics8.nytimes.com
 
2014-01-25 12:22:55 PM  

grumpfuff: hasty ambush: FTFA

The purpose of LB 675 is to help the State gain more revenue, rather than less, by taking away churches' property tax exemptions.


  That argument that government needs more revenue is weapons grade stupid.  For  FY2014 it is estimated that Federal , State and Local combined revenue collections will be approx $6 TRILLION

Arguing that government needs more revenue is like arguing Vince Young had a problem of not enough income instead of a spending problem.

Nebraska =/= total tax revenue of federal, state, and local

/go back to trolling with pictures


Nebraska's had a $4.3 billion total revenue in 2012. It operates on a two year ( biennial ) budget and expects 4.5-4.7% increases in revenue during the budget period.

Nebraska's personal income tax system consists of four brackets and a top rate of 6.84%. That rate ranks 16th highest among states levying an individual income tax.

Nebraska's corporate income tax system consists of two brackets and a top rate of 7.81%. That rate ranks 19th highest among states levying an corporate income tax

Nebraska levies a 5.5% general sales or use tax on consumers, which is below the national median of 6%.

Nebraska's state and local governments collected approximately $1487 per person in property taxes, which ranks 16th highest nationally.

Tax Freedom Day is the day when Americans finally have earned enough money to pay off their total tax bill for the year. In 2013, Nebraska taxpayers worked until April 12th (23rd earliest nationally)

Link

So I don't see revenue collection as a problem for Nebraska.

Now spending problems- that they have:
 
2014-01-25 12:29:10 PM  

grumpfuff: Lsherm: dionysusaur: Lsherm: Meh, most churches would still qualify as a non-profit on the rest of the terms.  Only the truly Prosperity Gospel churches might not.

But even if it passed, it would run up to the Supreme Court, and that might be a fight worth having, just to settle the issue once and for all.

I don't want this issue before a SCOTUS with three Opus Dei members and Clarence Thomas on it

Oh, I do.  Internet liberals keep telling themselves that churches can be taxed and it would be nice to show them that there's a fundamental constitutional question at stake.  I'd like it even better if they struck down the non-profit exemption but kept the religious one, that might force people to think about what they are challenging.  There's very little thought put into the "tax churches" argument these days except "WE GET MORE MONEY!   HURRR!  DURRR!"

The thought behind taxing churches is not "WE GET MORE MONEY! HURRR! DURRR!" It's that churches, specifically Christian ones, in this nation are trying to having a bigger influence on politics. Part of tax-exempt status implies you're not gonna get involved in politics(see: IRS targeting "scandal"). If churches would STFU about it, I'd have no problem with them keeping tax exempt. But since they want to get involved, they can pay their entrance fee like everyone else.


Okay, then why tax newspapers?
 
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