The City Council in the nation’s capital has overwhelmingly voted for a bill that would allow terminally ill people a medically assisted death.
That makes Washington, D.C., the sixth jurisdiction nationwide to approve what opponents often call “physician-assisted suicide.” The bill would legalize it for those who have six months or less to live, who do not suffer from depression, and who request the option several times.
At issue was a new $100 “annual registration fee” that the city imposed on churches and nonprofits. Most of the fee will go toward building safety and fire inspections, and $25 toward administration costs.
But East St. Louis pastors say Mayor Alvin Parks is playing a game of semantics, using the word “fee” where “tax” is more accurate.
They say they only learned about the new fee when they began receiving letters from the city, warning that the churches would be turned over to a collection agency if they didn’t pay. Nonpayment, the letter said, “may reflect negatively on your credit record, lien on property and other remedies that the State of Illinois allows.”
Those building new churches pay fees for licenses and permits, just like anyone else putting up a new structure. But churches and nonprofits don’t pay taxes.