So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

"The grinch did not steal Christmas from the most needy in Langley this year." City of Langley, BC, tried and failed to make churches and charities pay property tax.

Francis Wong, Director of Finance, Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver | DNW image

H/T Busy Catholic
The BC Catholic Paper
A Langley city council motion to start collecting property tax fails after residents speak out
By Agnieszka Krawczynsk
A motion to make churches and charities in Langley City pay property tax has been quashed.
City council chambers had standing room only Nov. 23 as churchgoers, volunteers, and community members voiced concerns about ending property tax exemptions.
"We would likely have had to close," the Rev. Paula Porter Leggett of St. Andrew's Anglican Church told The B.C. Catholic the next day.
To stay open and afford the tax, the small church would have had to cut back its services to the community. "We would have had to make choices between the four services we do a month in care homes or being involved in organizing things to attract new members."
Leggett was one of many speakers representing 20 charities and churches that felt it would be unfair for the city to start collecting property tax.
City council first decided to prepare a strategy to reduce or eliminate property tax exemptions at a meeting Sept. 28.
A Nov. 12 report by Darrin Leite, director of corporate services, listed a series of suggestions, such as reducing the tax exemption for churches and some non-profits by 5 per cent each year for five years, then reassessing.
The city accepted written and verbal input before the motion came up again Nov. 23. After hearing more than an hour of testimonies against the proposal, councillor Rudy Storteboom moved the motion "for discussion." No one seconded it, and it died before coming to a vote.
Read the complete article: CLICK HERE

The temptation to express outrage over attempts by secular authorities to deprive churches and charities of their tax exempt status is one that is understandable given the antipathy some civic leaders have towards citizens with religious convictions. However, Langley city council's action is not without merit. Like honest heretics who provide the Church with opportunities to refine her defence of the Faith, said city council has provided the opportunity for citizens to make a rational argument against council's imprudent attempt at a cash grab from groups comprised of some, perhaps most, of Langley's better citizens.
(I)n a letter to interested parties in the (Anglican) diocese, Rob Dickson reinforced why it was important that he and Francis Wong (Director of Finance, Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver) were present at the meeting and their voices heard: “This is not an action that was only for the City of Langley. If this motion had passed in Langley November 23, there would have been a roll out of this action across BC municipalities. The NFP (not-for-profit) sector must continue to be vigilant and we must alert all our various constituents and work together to ensure that churches, NFPs, compassionate service organizations are not taxed by the local, provincial or federal governments for the very good reason that they provide community services not provided by others and at no charge.”—Randy Murray, Anglican Diocese of New Westminster.
Had the city voted to remove tax exempt status from churches and charities, it would have to assume responsibility for services provided by said groups, services which would have probably bankrupted the city. Churches and NFPs help people in ways that governments simply cannot. Churches and NFPs offer help and hope to those people who slip through society's cracks. We can be thankful that said councillors listened to reason and abandoned their action.

Given the people's will to defend a Canadian legacy that honours charitable work by maintaining tax-free status for religious and charitable organizations, whoever in the Langley city government initiated the suggested tax policy—perhaps a city bureaucrat?—has made herself or himself the poster-child for unCanadianlike conduct.

Would it be unfair to suggest that citizens of Langley should keep a very close watch on their town government?

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