ADF files suit to protect Ariz. church from foreclosure
based on $50K illegal tax bill
State agrees church shouldn’t owe taxes, La Paz County levied bill anyway
Press release: adfmedia.org/News/PRDetail/4680
(Video Courtesy: Alliance Defense Fund)
TRT = 3:07
IT’S JUST ONE SIGN THAT TIMES HERE ARE TOUGH...
IN QUARTZSITE, ARIZONA, 125 MILES WEST OF PHOENIX – THE SPUTTERING ECONOMY HAS PLACED A BIG BURDEN ON CHURCHES.
“It’s not the government’s job to take care of the people. It’s only compassion that can do it. And through the compassion of the church we can help.”
PASTOR MIKE HOBBY AND HIS WIFE LINDA CAME TO ARIZONA IN 2003 TO START A CHURCH DEDICATED TO MINISTERING TO THE POOR. SINCE THEN – THEIR MINISTRY HAS GROWN INTO WHAT IS NOW CALLED THE CHURCH OF THE ISAIAH 58 PROJECT.
THE FOCUS OF THIS CHURCH - HELP THE NEEDY WHO WOULD OTHERWISE FALL THROUGH THE CRACKS.
“We have showers. We can offer them a shower. We have a clothing bank that we can offer them clean clothes. We have a food bank and can give them food to travel with if they’re in route somewhere.”
BUT THE HELP THAT SO MANY IN THIS COMMUNITY HAVE COME TO RELY ON IS NOW IN JEOPARDY. THE COUNTY PROPERTY ASSESSOR IS DEMANDING MORE THAN 50-THOUSAND DOLLARS IN BACK TAXES FOR A THREE YEAR PERIOD WHERE HE REFUSED TO GRANT THE CHURCH A PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION.
“That would almost be a year’s income for this church. We operate on just about that in a year.”
ALTHOUGH STATE LAW *AND* THE ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE BOTH SAY THE CHURCH SHOULD *NOT* OWE ANY PROPERTY TAXES – A TAX BILL HAS BEEN LEVIED ANYWAY.
THE PASTOR TURNED TO THE ALLIANCE DEFENSE FUND, A NON-PROFIT CHRISTIAN LEGAL ALLIANCE – TO ENSURE THE CHURCH’S CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS ARE UPHELD AND DEFENDED.
“It doesn’t make any sense to tax churches. Churches really are in partnership with the government – they are in partnership with the community to provide social services to the community, to reach out to the poor and needy."
IT’S A SENTIMENT SHARED BY QUARTZSITE TOWN OFFICIALS INCLUDING THE POLICE CHIEF, TOWN MANAGER, AND EVEN THE MAYOR - WHO FEAR THAT THE COUNTY’S ACTIONS WILL FORCE THE CHURCH OF THE ISAIAH 58 PROJECT TO CLOSE ITS DOORS.
“Mike’s taxes are that he supports all these down-trodden people who come through this flock, and that’s what he contributes. He shouldn’t be contributing tax dollars to the county.”
“The Isaiah 58 Project has always been there when we come to them and ask them for some type of assistance to help us with people are in some kind of need.”
“It’s important to get across the point that this church is a community partner. It doesn’t exist in isolation and works with our town and the things that they do – we work together.”
IF THE TAXES STAND, THE CHURCH WILL LOSE THE PROPERTY… AND QUARTZSITE WILL LOSE A MINISTRY DEDICATED TO HELPING THE POOR AND FEEDING THE HUNGRY.
“It would be a real shame for an unlawful decision by the government to institute an unlawful tax on this church – to in some way remove this from the community. “
ADF HAS FILED A LAWSUIT ON BEHALF OF THE CHURCH – AND IS WORKING TO ENSURE CHURCHES EVERYWHERE ARE FREE TO SERVE THEIR LOCAL COMMUNITIES.
“I believe the Lord will work it out. It’s going to be through the grace of God we get through it."
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