What: All Issues : Human Rights & Civil Liberties : Separation of Church & State : S. 476. Charitable Contributions/Vote to Erode Separation of Church and State By Providing Favorable Tax Treatment for Individual Land Contributions to Religious Groups.
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S. 476. Charitable Contributions/Vote to Erode Separation of Church and State By Providing Favorable Tax Treatment for Individual Land Contributions to Religious Groups.
senate Roll Call 127     Apr 09, 2003
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Progressive

Led by Senator Rick Santorum (R-SC), Senate Republicans have tried for two years to pass President Bush's "faith-based" initiative in the upper chamber. A major component of the initiative would involve creating tax incentives to spur charitable contributions to religiously-oriented groups. During debate on the faith-based initiative, Senator Don Nickles (R-OK) proposed an amendment that would reduce the capital gains tax by twenty-five percent for individuals who sell undeveloped land to a charitable organization. Progressives opposed the amendment because expansive language used to describe a charitable organization in the measure would apply to nearly all property that is sold--regardless of whether it is a charitable organization--and cost the Treasury an estimated $1.4 billion in foregone revenue. In essence, then, the Nickles amendment would create a loophole in the capital gains tax that could be exploited by selling property. Progressives also opposed the faith-based initiative, the legislation to which the Nickles amendment would have been attached to, on the grounds that the legislation would erode the constitutional separation between church and state. The subject of this vote was a motion to table (or strike down) the Nickles amendment and the motion succeeded by a 62-38 margin.

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