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Brewer vetoes religious property tax bill

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer explains during an impromptu press conference following the passage of her Medicaid expansion plan that she and her advisors had considered having the legislative leadership ousted in order to pass it. (Photo by Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times)

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (Photo by Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times)

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has vetoed a bill that would have expanded property tax exemptions for religious organizations, while also signing another bill that blocks unemployment benefits for church workers.

Both measures were top priorities for conservatives during the 2013 legislative session that ended Friday and had support from the influential Center for Arizona Policy.

Brewer said in a veto letter Wednesday that the property tax bill was undefined and could create more confusion. House Bill 2446 would have allowed churches to avoid paying property taxes on vacant land, a practice already in place in Maricopa County.

Property used for worship is currently tax-exempt.

Brewer also took action Wednesday on House Bill 2645, which exempts religious organizations from providing unemployment benefits to teachers or child care providers.

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