A special tax for paramedic services has a California city defending the tax in court.
Voters in San Rafael enacted the Paramedic Services Special Tax via referendum in 2010 but the tax applies to church properties, setting up a legal fight.
In January, Valley Baptist Church approached Pacific Justice Institute after the City of San Rafael slapped the church with a $13,000 bill for unpaid taxes allegedly owed pursuant to the special tax.
San Rafael, located in Marin County, is home to approximately 59,000 residents.
PJI has since sued the City of San Rafael on grounds the tax is unconstitutional.
"The state constitution prohibits religious institutions from paying any property tax," says PJI attorney Brad Dacus.
The tax is also illegal, he adds, because it's based on the number of square footage, not property values.
"The law in California requires any property tax be based upon the appraised value, not the number of square feet," he explains. "So it's a very strong case."
PJI is representing the church for free.