Tell D.C. Board not to approve plan to give taxpayer money to churches

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The D.C. Council’s proposed Clean River Impervious Area Charges relief plan would give taxpayer money to churches and favors churches over secular nonprofits.

This proposed package would relieve nonprofits, churches and cemeteries from Clean River Impervious Area Charges, which they complain have become burdensome. 

According to the proposal, secular nonprofits will be eligible for relief from the charges if they amount to at least 5 percent of the nonprofit’s revenue (after expenses), verified with the nonprofit’s Form 990. For churches and cemeteries (most of which are affiliated with a church) that relief threshold falls to nearly nothing: 0.75 percent. It will also not be verified by the D.C. Council or taxpayers because religious institutions are not required to file Form 990s with the IRS.

In short, the proposed plan would require nonprofits to show a financial burden nearly seven times that of churches and not going to require churches to actually prove the claimed burden is accurate. The plan openly favors religion over nonreligion.

The D.C. Water Utility Board is voting on this proposal on Dec. 6. Please contact the board’s chairman using the e-mail below and tell him not to approve this plan.

Tommy Wells, Chairman
[email protected]
(202) 535-2600

Please feel free to use or adapt the talking points below.

As a taxpayer and voter, I am dismayed to learn of the D.C. Water Utility Board’s proposal to implement a relief plan that would benefit churches over secular nonprofits. I urge the Board to vote against this proposal this Thursday.

The proposed plan to offer relief from the Clean River Impervious Area Charges for nonprofits would financially favor churches and other religiously affiliated institutions with no accountability to taxpayers, as these groups do not file Form 990s with the IRS.

Public trust requires public transparency. Without it, the public cannot verify that nonprofits are honoring that trust and that it is not being abused or exploited. I ask that the Board not approve the current version of this plan, which gives a taxpayer handout to churches on more favorable grounds than to secular nonprofits.


Freedom From Religion Foundation

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