The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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September 7, 2001 Issue
Local News

Non-profit service fee vetoed in budget

Grassroots effort cited

When Gov. Scott McCallum signed the budget bill last week, he used his partial veto authority to delete a provision of the 2001-03 state budget that would have allowed municipalities to collect service fees from owners of tax-exempt property.

"The provision would have had a negative impact on the activities of many nonprofit organizations because it would have broadened the scope of charges that could be applied to tax-exempt property," McCallum said. "It is imperative that we maintain the integrity of existing property tax exemptions for charitable and nonprofit groups."

Non-profit groups and religious organizations, across the state, including the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, had urged the Governor to veto the provision.

John Huebscher, WCC executive director, said, "The provision was not well thought out, vaguely worded and would have burdened many religious and charitable organizations that already make valuable contributions to the communities in which they are located."

Huebscher praised the grass roots effort of letter writing and phone calls to the Governor's office. "The Governor's office heard from many people on this issue and their views made the difference." he said.

Huebscher noted that churches, other religious organizations, and non-profit entities already pay for many services. He said that many such groups arrange for their own garbage and trash removal, and plowing snow in their parking lots. He also said that tax-exempt property owners pay special assessments for road repairs and tree trimming. In addition, some religious groups pay "fees in lieu of taxes" for properties they own.

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