BY: Citizens Count
New Hampshire's Supreme Court came to a decision last week over a dispute between St. George's Episcopal Church in Durham and the town of Durham. St. George's is one of a few churches in the town that has been renting parking spaces to University of New Hampshire students. The church, which is tax exempt, was told by the town of Durham it had to start paying taxes on the parking lot since it was being used to make a profit. A lawsuit made its way to the state’s highest court, which ruled in favor of the town.
Supporters of the decision argue that the profits made from renting parking spaces do not fall under the category of 'religious exemption,' as they are used by students for their own private, not religious, interests and activities.
On the other hand, opponents argue that a church's entire property, not just portions of it, should qualify for tax-exemption. While the spaces serve a secondary purpose of providing parking for students in a crowded downtown area, its primary function is still to serve the church and its activities.
UPDATE: Read our Citizen Voices℠ report and find out where New Hampshire stands on this issue.