City government doesn't have enough money to provide needed services. They need to either raise our property taxes or our garbage fees, or both.
Here's a thought: maybe local governments need to look at a brand new source of revenue right under their noses - in fact in Jacksonville's case, RIGHT NEXT DOOR...that would be property taxes on CHURCHES, especially large mega churches. Why are mega churches who rake in millions each year and provide relatively few services in their local community as compared to their revenue and property tax exemption, still in this day, getting a free pass from having to pay for needed government services?
Follow my logic:
The government has a budget deficit, and guess where the solution is? Not in budget cuts, but in the pockets and portfolios of the citizens. Yep, as Obama and the dems have their sights on higher income taxes, as our health insurance premiums rise and energy prices start climbing again, guess who needs to fork over more money to the local government?
You and I. The solution is in our pockets. Fork it over. To the government.
At the same time, Christians go to church and they hear their pastors complain that we aren't giving enough there, that their pastor can't do the ministry God has called them to do. Even recently Southern Baptist pastors got their marching orders from Ronnie Floyd, the head of our SBC Great Commission Task Force - telling pastors that the money necessary to get the gospel out is in the "pockets and portfolios" of selfish church members who on average only give 2.65% of their income to charity.
Floyd's answer? He tells pastors to get back to preaching a 10% tithe. So for the Southern Baptists, 2.65% isn't good enough, they need that quadrupled, else they can't do what God called them to do.
You and I. The solution is in our pockets. Fork it over. To the churches.
And here in Jacksonville we're also told that people aren't buying enough of the NFL Jacksonville Jaquars tickets, and we'll lose the franchise and all the benefits of it unless we buy more tickets.
So here we are...both the government and the church - and the NFL - looking for ways to get their hands into our pockets.
But I submit to you, that some of the money that the government needs is NOT in our pockets and portfolios...it is in the bank account and property portfolio of our mega churches. Churches pay ZERO property taxes. In days gone by this made sense. Churches provided needed services by helping the poor and ministering to those in need. A sizable amount of their revenue helped the community at large. Pastors made a meager income, and they ministered in their local community.
But this is a different day, with the advent of the mega church and CEO pastor. Most of the large churches in this day and time are now entertainment centers, with high priced pastors (some of them actually millionaires) and a stable of well-paid professional "reverends" with master's degrees from seminary. Just a few stingy percents of their budget goes to anything remotely considered to be helping the community, while they spend large portions of their budgets on buying local and national TV time, hiring marketing consultants to steal sheep, and making sure their ministers have a very comfortable lifestyle. Their salary and bennies for the professional ministers is between 40% and 50% of TOTAL REVENUE, for crying out loud. To use a Ronnie Floydism - I'm amazed at the selfishness of mega churches who rake in millions and only give 2.65% of their income to help people.
And we can't avoid the storehouse tithe doctrine being taught by Mac Brunson at FBC Jax and others that tells Christains ALL of their FIRST 10 percent of charitable giving must be given to the church, undesignated. And these pastors call US selfish - this doctrine calls Christians to stiff their local charitable organizations unless they FIRST fork over 10% of their income to the church.
So why should not the government require these stingy mega churches to begin to pay at least A LITTLE BIT of property tax out of their millions? Sure, give an exemption for much smaller churches, but above a certain level of property value, larger churches should have to start paying for their needed government services! Certainly they can find the money in their pastors' salary and benefits and retirement line items, or they can trim their bloated professional staffs...or God forbid maybe they would start smaller churches when they reached a certain size.
But in all likelihood the mega church pastors would use their charisma and their church marketing gurus to preach the tithe harder and more convincingly to get the money from our pockets to make up the difference.
But the church can't pass a law raising our "tithe"....
....so I say let the mega churches start to pay their fair share, and stop mooching off of the tax payers.