A proposal to reduce tax exemptions for religious organizations and charities in Langley City failed on Monday evening following concerted protest from local churches. Councillor Rudy Storteboom presented, for discussion, a motion that would have reduced property tax exemptions for 29 church and non-profit properties. No one seconded the motion.
Currently, the Government of BC provides automatic tax breaks on houses of worship while municipalities can create exemptions for other properties, such as parking lots. The proposal before Langley City would only have affected this latter category.
Ian Bushfield, Executive Director, BC Humanist Association:
Cities should be free to revisit these automatic tax exemptions that are granted to groups just because they are religious. Other towns and cities across BC, including Victoria, Coquitlam and Gibsons, facing similar budgetary pressures, have discussed and ended tax breaks for insular and sectarian organizations that don't give back to the wider community. It's disappointing to hear that special interests pressured the Langley Council to not even consider this proposal.