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Today’s Budget

As I type this the Irish Minister of Finance is delivering this years budget. FXM over at Irish Atheists asks the question why not remove the tax exempt status from the Catholic Church?

I can see no good argument for continuing to give tax breaks to any religion. The Catholic Church in particular owns large amounts of property throughout the country and doesn’t face the sort of inheritance tax that helps to keep property in circulation.

So today’s questions are  – Why am I wrong and what did you think of the budget?

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4 Responses

  1. I cant see the balance really, cutting spending and increasing taxes amounts to a pretty large haul in with nothing of benefit to anyone in employment. Means testing medical cards for the over 70’s is a pretty rediculous idea which will probably cost more to implement and administer that it could possibly save. A levy on car parking (free parking is now benefit in kind, apparently), although lucrative will lead to a further problem for SME’s trying to expand.

    My problems with this government include the facts that they royally mismanaged the economy, created a false bubble that everyone seemed to buy into which created panic buying in an artificially inflated housing market, allowing bankers and estate agents to bury people in debt knowing full well most of them had lied regarding their ability to repay, casuing the whole thing to shrink, and now we are expected to shoulder the cost of them giving money back to the people who lost it all in the first place so they can use it to dig themselves out of the hole they dug for themselves in the first place?

    No thanks.

    Anyone who voted FF in the last two elections, this is YOUR fault.

  2. Religious bodies don’t pay tax on income. I’m not sure if they pay other taxes.

    I had a conversation with a mixed group of Atheists/Agnostics and (liberal) Catholics about this yesterday and was surprised that no one objected to the idea.

    On the budget, I agree that increasing taxes seems like a bad move but cutting public spending has negative impacts as well. I think they tried to strike a balance. We’ll see if they managed it in the next few months.

  3. The thing is, I don’t think we can expect either retionality or equity from a tax system. It is based on section interest, sentiment and pragmatism. Anyhow, I didn’t know that the catholic church had a tax free status. How does that work? What do they get away with?

    On the budget I’m just sulking. It always comes down to the PAYE worker because they have nowhere to hide. So it’s kids pocket money reduced by 10% and no takeaways on a Friday. That’ll help the economy!

  4. Greetings from Kildimo!

    I think you are entirely correct regarding the tax-exemption handed out to the religious. I believe the rational for the exemption is that they provide a useful social-service that is unattainable via other-(secular) means. I suppose they mean weddings, funerals, christenings and all that stuff that are still largely the purview of the Catholic Church. Surely in the more secular Ireland that we now enjoy, secular institutions can step-in and provide alternatives. I suspect funerals will remain religious for most, but this is hardly an excuse for a free-ride from the tax-man.

    As for the budget today, i am still too irritated to think coherently about it – i feel violated after FF stuck their grubby hand in my pocket today. As usual, the PAYE worker gets the honor of ‘doing our bit’ for the good of the nation. The global financial meltdown was entirely predictable and was entirely predicted. The level of incompetence and mendacity, both by big business institutions, property developers and a lack of government control over them has landed us in the mess we are in and it irritates me that i have to pay for it.

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