Here is the controversial version of the amended bill:
BILL ID: SB 19300 CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 193(CRA)
01 "An Act relating to a mandatory exemption for certain residences owned by a religious
02 organization and to an optional deferral of municipal property taxes on certain primary
04 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:
05 * Section 1. AS 29.45.030(b) is amended to read:
06 (b) In (a) of this section, "property used exclusively for religious purposes"
07 includes the following property owned by a religious organization:
08 (1) the residence of an educator in a private religious or parochial
09 school or a bishop, pastor, priest, rabbi, minister, or religious order of a recognized
10 religious organization; for purposes of this paragraph, "minister" means an
11 individual who is
12 (A) ordained, commissioned, or licensed as a minister
13 according to standards of the religious organization for its ministers; and
14 (B) employed by the religious organization to carry out a
01 ministry of that religious organization;
02 (2) a structure, its furniture, and its fixtures used solely for public
03 worship, charitable purposes, religious administrative offices, religious education, or a
04 nonprofit hospital;
05 (3) lots required by local ordinance for parking near a structure defined
06 in (2) of this subsection.
The Anchorage Baptist Temple (ABT) currently owns 10 residences exempted from property taxes. Six of these residences are occupied by teachers employed by ABT. The Anchorage Assembly wants to revoke the exemption for those six residences. The amended SB 193 not only would prevent this from happening, but could cost municipalities statewide an estimated $200,000 in lost taxes. The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee on March 13th, 2006 where it died at the end of the session.
While I personally respect Pastor Jerry Prevo for his courageous stand in favor of traditional American cultural values and in particular his pronounced opposition to the promotion and protection of the homosexual lifestyle, tax exemptions are customarily limited to the religious facility itself and the residence of the primary pastor or minister. Perhaps in a church as large as ABT, it might also be appropriate to exempt the residences of a couple of the assistant pastors. Glenn Clary's workload as the assistant pastor at ABT is probably as great or greater than the workload of many other pastors. However, to exempt any other church properties is not only inappropriate, but in this case, may be discriminatory in favor of ABT. Remember, the Constitution states that Congress (or any subordinate legislative body) shall make NO law regarding the establishment of a religion. Contact your state lawmakers and urge them to oppose SB 193.
An earlier Anchorage Daily News story on this issue, dated March 10th, can be found here.