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Ennis Daily News

Taking a look at a Chamber tax exemption

There is a move afoot to provide a property tax exemption for Chambers of Commerce and we think it is an issue that deserves consideration.
Several house members have developed and submitted HB 1837 that would exempt from ad valorem taxation, property used by certain nonprofit community business organizations to provide services to aid in the economic development of local communities.
While the bill was developed primarily to aid local chambers of commerce, the "nonprofit community business organization" outlined in the bill, has been purposely narrowly defined as meaning an organization that has been in existence for at least the preceding five years; has been a nonprofit for at least the preceding three years maintaining a dues-paying membership of at least 50 members; has a board of directors elected by the members; does not compensate members of the board of directors for service on the board; is primarily supported by membership dues and other income from activities substantially related to its primary functions. In addition, to qualify, the organization must be primarily engaged in promoting the common economic interests of commercial enterprises; improving the business conditions of one or more types of business; or otherwise providing services to aid in economic development of a community.
The authors of the bill have been very careful to word it in such a way that only legitimate service organizations will qualify for the exemption and we think that was a smart move. Narrowly defining those who can qualify for the exemption will lessen the chance of fraudulent, fly-by-night organizations taking advantage of the law.
In considering if passing this bill is a fair and equitable decision, there should be substantial discussion related to the argument that most Chamber business members already pay property taxes and, because Chambers are primarily financed by membership dues, these business members are essentially paying property taxes twice.
We think the exemption has the potential to be good news for all local Chambers, including our own.
Our Chamber of Commerce would not have to pay any more ad valorum taxes on their building and could use that money to develop programs and initiatives to further economic development in Ennis.
We are all for that.

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Posted by on Feb 28 2007. Filed under Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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