Church can't afford exorbitant 'rain tax'

Letter writer Kenneth Hoffmann's complaints against the "wealthy" Catholic Church and against all other religious institutions are ludicrous ("Church shouldn't complain about stormwater fees", June 14).

I am a parishioner at a Roman Catholic Church on Belair Road (an impoverished urban area).

The majority of our parishioners are retirees, many of them widows existing on small stipends.

Our church receives daily multiple appeals for food, rent, utilities, medicines and other survival needs from our neighbors (most of whom are not Catholic). We, the parishioners, do our utmost to assist our neighbors, plus we support other charitable endeavors for Baltimoreans and other Americans.

Our parish's struggle to aid the poor is a story reenacted over and over a again by most of the religious institutions in Baltimore City. These good efforts are the purest form of grassroots, American altruism, neighbor to neighbor.

From the aspect of self-interest, Mr. Hoffman should support the exemption of all religious institutions from the stormwater tax and other oppressive levies. When such charitable work is taxed out of existence, the state will have to try and repair the damage to its impoverished citizens by imposing significantly larger taxes on Mr. Hoffman and other citizens. Sadly, the neediest will be the greatest sufferers as multiple layers of government bureaucracy drain away the money until only a trickle reaches the poor.

Mr. Hoffman demands a fair and equal tax, but I hope for something better. I call for a fair and equitable tax where the suffering of Maryland's poorest is taken into the equation.

Mary Catalfamo, Baltimore

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