Some metro-east pastors are upset with the City of East St. Louis for levying what they call a tax on churches.
On January 1st, the city imposed a $100 registration fee on churches and nonprofits. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the annual fee is supposed to offset the city's cost of doing fire and safety inspections.
Local pastors spoke out against the fee at Thursday's City Council meeting. Many blamed Mayor Alvin Parks, who defends the fee. The city council considered the pastors argument and pushed back the fee deadline from June 30th to September 30th.
Houses of worship have generally been exempt from taxes since a 1970 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the issue. Civic fees charged against houses of worship have been struck down as "church taxes" in the past.
Cuts in the classroom are coming to the East St. Louis School District. Teachers layoffs were announced during Thursday night's packed school board meeting.
In all, 69 teachers in District 189 will lose their jobs. Five elementary school principals and two middle school principals will also be cut.
East St. Louis is just the latest in a long list of metro-east school districts forced to make the cuts because of state and local budget issues.