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posted by martyb on Thursday April 13 2017, @01:03AM   Printer-friendly
from the it-is-not-the-law...-yet dept.

Alabama lawmakers have voted 24-4 to allow Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham to establish a police department. The church has over 4,000 members and is also home to a K-12 school and a theological seminary with 2,000 students and teachers:

"After the shooting at Sandy Hook and in the wake of similar assaults at churches and schools, Briarwood recognized the need to provide qualified first responders to coordinate with local law enforcement," church administrator Matt Moore said in a statement, referring to the mass murder of 20 first graders and six teachers at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut by a deranged man with an AR-15 style rifle just before Christmas 2012. "The sole purpose of this proposed legislation is to provide a safe environment for the church, its members, students and guests." The church would pay the bill for its officers.

[...] "It's our view this would plainly be unconstitutional," Randall Marshall, the ACLU's Acting Executive Director, told NBC News. In a memo to the legislature, Marshall said they believe the bills "violate the First Amendment or the U.S. Constitution and, if enacted, would not survive a legal challenge." "Vesting state police powers in a church police force violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment," his memo states. "These bills unnecessarily carve out special programs for religious organizations and inextricably intertwine state authority and power with church operations."


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  • (Score: 2) by jmorris on Thursday April 13 2017, @04:15PM (1 child)

    by jmorris (4844) on Thursday April 13 2017, @04:15PM (#493466)

    You must be government educated. Reading is fundamental.

    Economic impact and innovation catalyst. MIT has a far-reaching impact on the economy of the region. The Institute is Cambridge’s second largest employer and largest taxpayer, representing 14% of the city’s revenue stream. MIT pays taxes on its commercial property and provides an annual payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) for property that is used for academic purposes and is legally tax exempt. In fiscal year 2016, the Institute made a voluntary PILOT contribution of approximately $2 million to the City of Cambridge and paid approximately $50 million in real estate taxes.

    I bolded the important part for you. They operate in a nest of Democrat politicians who saw the large sacks of cash at MIT and found a way to get a taste, despite their tax exempt status. Which I can sorta understand; when the biggest industry in your city is tax exempt it strains the ability to supply the Blue College Town amenities those same MIT types will be demanding. Places like MIT have used their endowments to buy up a LOT of commercial real estate and spin out whole businesses and for a long time they managed to keep all of that tax free. Even with the Blue Hell property tax rates that one finds in MA, imagine how much real estate and how developed it is for them to be paying $50Mil per year on it. That is a seriously large chunk of a city.

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by DeathMonkey on Thursday April 13 2017, @07:48PM

    by DeathMonkey (1380) on Thursday April 13 2017, @07:48PM (#493590) Journal

    provides an annual payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) for property that is used for academic purposes and is legally tax exempt. In fiscal year 2016, the Institute made a voluntary PILOT contribution of approximately $2 million

    You do realize that's saying they voluntarily pay more than they're actually legally obligated to, right?

    Nah.....nevermind.....keep digging that hole!