Pierre-Paul Villafafila’s complaints about houses of worship not paying property taxes and donors receiving tax deductions is financially untenable (letter March 8). The amount of money saved our governments by the efforts of religious adherents nationwide is incalculable. People are housed, fed, adopted, healed, educated, counseled, given employment and strengthened in law-abiding character.
To take a local example, First Presbyterian Church of Fresno provides facilities for Hope Now for Youth, a gang-intervention program that since 1993 has lifted over 2,000 gang members into lives of hope and success through caring relationships and placement in employment. With only 8 percent recidivism of these youth versus the usual 75 percent after three years, these two religious organizations have saved taxpayers many millions of dollars in prison costs, not to mention additional millions saved on enforcement, adjudication and probation or parole. And former gang members are becoming taxpayers themselves! Imagine what all the other 450 churches in Fresno and Clovis do to benefit our communities.
This is such a tax bargain that I invite Mr. Villafafila to donate to Hope Now for Youth, enjoy his tax deduction and watch his gift be multiplied into even more tax burdens becoming taxpayers.
Roger Minassian, Fresno
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