May 20,2002

Grassley on the Pastors, Rabbis' Housing Allowance

Today President Bush signed into law a bill protecting the housing tax break that ministers,priests and rabbis receive. The bill clarifies that parsonage allowances are limited to the fair marketrental value of the residence. Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Committee on Finance,was the lead co-sponsor of this bill in the Senate. He made the following comment on thePresident’s action.

“I appreciate the President’s quick action. Without this bill, congregations nationwide wouldhave suffered needlessly. Ministers, priests and rabbis work hard for low pay. They depend on theirchurch or synagogue to help with their housing costs. This is especially important in rural areas,where very small congregations have trouble attracting clergy members. If Congress and thePresident had failed to clarify the parsonage housing tax allowance, churches and synagogues couldhave taken a huge tax hit. It’s reasonable for the tax code to offer modest tax breaks to non-profitorganizations like churches and synagogues.”