Nome, Alaska has made national news but this time it has nothing to do with dog mushing.
In an attempt to address budget shortfalls, the Nome City Council is voting TONITE on whether to tax churches and other nonprofits. We wrote about this issue earlier but it's coming to a vote tonite. Currently, Nome issues sales tax exemption certificates to nearly 80 governmental and nonprofit entities including eleven (11) churches or ministries. The wide variety of groups includes a teen center, food bank, veteran organizations and legal services for low-income Alaskans.
I spoke with a tax assessor at the State of Alaska this morning and he told me that as far as he knows, every Municipality, Borough and governing body that has a sales tax in place provides this exemption to churches and nonprofit organizations. It just makes sense.
If the Nome City Council approves the ordinance tonight, we can count on this being just the beginning. If they can eliminate sales tax exemptions in Nome, they can eliminate property tax exemptions in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Southeast.
Please do your part now as a concerned Alaskan and contact one or more members of the Nome City Council to let them know this is bad policy. Here are a few talking points to get you started but the main thing is for you to take a few minutes right now and contact one or more of the members below and tell them to NOT REMOVE the sales tax exemption for churches and nonprofits.
- Taxes on churches and other nonprofits would decrease the programs and services they provide to the community.
- Churches and nonprofits provide considerable benefits to the community and generally do so much more efficiently and effectively than the Government can.
- Long before we had Departments of Health, Education, and Welfare, religious and nonprofit organizations were providing essential services to society.
- It is critical that Alaska maintains a healthy and robust nonprofit sector for those falling through the cracks or becoming dependent on Governmental programs.
Here are the names and contact info for Nome City Council members. Please contact them right away as they are voting on this issue at their meeting TONITE.
Tom Sparks - firstname.lastname@example.org - (907)443-5485
Louis Green Sr. - email@example.com - (907)443-5892
Randy Pomeranz - firstname.lastname@example.org - (907)443-5901
Stanley C. Andersen - (907)304-9104
Jerald Brown - email@example.com - (907)443-4307
Matt Culley - firstname.lastname@example.org - (907)443-3686
Click HERE for a great article on a ballot initiative in Colorado nearly 20 years ago on the same subject that eventually was obliterated at the polls. An incredibly diverse group of nonprofits stood together and demonstrated how wrong-headed this type of tax can be.