Do you think unions should be able to avoid paying property taxes?
As organizations, unions have customers (their members), they collect revenues (union dues), they have employees (some of whom are unionized), they have management (union bosses), and they own property–such as cars, trucks, and real estate.
While their businesses may be unique, unions are not charities.
However, one Steelworkers’ local in Indiana believes that it should be able to escape property taxes on its real estate.
United Steelworkers Local 6787 argued Monday morning the labor union is entitled to tax exempt status for its union hall and a nearby building it referred to as a meeting facility.
Attorney James Gilday said the buildings along Ind. 149 in Portage qualify for the tax break because they are used for charitable and educational efforts serving the union and general public.
While the Porter County assessor’s office recognizes the benefits provided by the union local, it disagrees the buildings are entitled to a tax exemption under the law, attorney Christopher Buckley said.
The meeting facility is actually a lucrative banquet center, Buckley said. The exemption law requires the facilities benefit the larger community and not primarily the group’s membership, he said.
As a “lucrative banquet center,” the Steelworkers likely rents its 22,000-square-foot meeting facility for weddings receptions, parties and other events.
While the union may donate some money and time to the community, as do other companies, most other companies typically do not ask for to have their property exempted from their tax obligations.
What do you think?