A bill granting tax breaks to private property owners who lease to churches is headed to the Senate after being narrowly approved by Arizona House Republicans. The House approved House Bill 2281 with a 33-to-25 vote on Thursday. The bill grants property owners who lease to churches but are not themselves religiously affiliated similar tax breaks to the ones churches get when they own property. The tax break applies only to space used for worship services. It would affect about one half of one percent of commercial property owners, according to a spokesman from the Maricopa County Assessor's Office.
Opponents say the bill's language is so loose there is no way to ensure property owners pass their savings on to rent-paying churches. They say it is also costly to the state.