State Senate candidate and Wichita City Council member Michael O’Donnell may blame his church’s new liability for back taxes on “a political agenda from the Wisconsin atheists,” as he put it. But the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s challenge to the tax-exempt status of O’Donnell’s home has been justified by the Sedgwick County Appraiser’s Office, which ruled last week that the former Grace Baptist Church parsonage is subject to property taxes from 2010 onward. As a foundation attorney said, “Sedgwick County taxpayers should not have to pay more taxes because a church and its leaders have falsely claimed an exemption.” And given that O’Donnell wants to be a state lawmaker, he should be more respectful of what the law says. He showed a similar disdain early this year, when he dismissed an ethics complaint against him as “a political hit job” – though the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission later fined him $500.
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