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Milwaukee Church Loses Tax Exemption

Written By: Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty  |  Posted: Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Jerusalem Empowered African Methodist Episcopal Church ("JEAMEC") is a church of faithful worshipers in Milwaukee. They've gathered as a congregation since 2003, and in 2008 they were able to purchase the church where they had been holding services from a Lutheran congregation in northwestern Milwaukee.

They weren't in their new church long, however, before the City came knocking on their demanding thousands of dollars in new property taxes. The church's parcel is a mere 4.4 acres, and the city thinks that almost half of that lot - a field where the church holds numerous events - should be taxed because it isn't "necessary" for the church's mission.

WILL is also arguing that many other nearby churches own just as much or even more land they aren't being taxed for. "The city may be looking for new sources of revenue," explains Mike Fischer, senior counsel for WILL, "but taxing our churches is not the answer. Small congregations like JEAMEC simply will be devastated. Even larger and more well-established congregations will find it more difficult to carry out their religious missions."

We believe that churches should be free to pursue their missions without concern that the government will decide how best they should manage their property.

Read full article at Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty

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