Religious Freedom/Equality

Wisconsin Family Action’s 2017 Legislative Priorities for RELIGIOUS FREEDOM/EQUALITY:

Raise Lions Camp / Bible Camp / Boy Scout Camp Tax Exemption to 200 acres.

  • Stat. 70.11 allows 30, 40, or 50 acre exemptions for camps depending on type (Bible, Blind, Mentally Disabled, Physically disabled, Boy Scouts, Jewish, etc). This would standardize the exemption at 200 acres.
  • The approximately 100 religious camps would save on average $10,000 a year, thus allowing them to provide approximately 5,000 urban students with a $200 scholarship for a free week of camp.
  • At a minimum, the obvious disparity between other camps and Bible camps should be eliminated.
  • These are the affected statutes:

(10m) Lions foundation camps for children with visual impairments. Lands not exceeding 40200 acres and the buildings thereon owned by the Wisconsin Lions Foundation and used as camps for children with visual impairments, so long as the property is used for such purposes and not for pecuniary profit of any individual.

(11) Bible camps. All real property not exceeding 30200 acres and the personal property situated therein, of any Bible camp conducted by a religious nonprofit corporation organized under the laws of this state, so long as the property is used for religious purposes and not for pecuniary profit of any individual.

(12) Certain charitable organizations. 70.11(12)(a)(a) Property owned by units which are organized in this state of the following organizations: the Salvation Army; Goodwill Industries, not exceeding 10 acres of property in any municipality; the Boy Scouts of America; the Boys’ Clubs of America; the Girl Scouts or Camp Fire Girls; the Young Men’s Christian Association, not exceeding 40200 acres for property that is located outside the limit of any incorporated city or village and not exceeding 10 acres for property that is located inside the limit of any incorporated city or village; the Young Women’s Christian Association, not exceeding 40 acres for property that is located outside the limit of any incorporated city or village and not exceeding 10 acres for property that is located inside the limit of any incorporated city or village; Jewish Community Centers of North America, not exceeding 40200 acres for property that is located outside the limit of any incorporated city or village and not exceeding 10 acres for property that is located inside the limit of any incorporated city or village; or any person as trustee for them of property used for the purposes of those organizations, provided no pecuniary profit results to any individual owner or member.

(33) Camps for mentally or physically disabled persons. Land, not exceeding 50200 acres, and the buildings on that land used as a residential campground exclusively for mentally or physically disabled persons and their families as long as the property is used for that purpose and not for the pecuniary profit of any individual.

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