| A SECULAR pressure group has presented a petition of 33,500 signatures to Congress calling for the Catholic Church to pay IBI tax.
According to Europa Laica, if all religious faiths had their tax exemptions removed, the total income amassed by councils throughout Spain would exceed 3,000 million euros a year.
Already, in Zamora (Castilla y León), the city council has announced it will start to charge the Church rubbish collection rates.
The association, which has the backing of political party Izquierda Unida (United Left) presented the petition to the Lower Chamber this week, and also called for the tick-box on income tax return forms allowing contributors to donate any refund to the Church to be scrapped.
Around 1,000 town councils are said to have put forward motions in meetings to support Europa Laica's quest.
The group says the agreement with the Vatican dating back to 1979 which grants the Church privileges should be rescinded.
This would mean no further financial support for the Church as an institution, since it has not, according to Europa Laica, fulfilled its own side of the bargain by showing that it can stand on its own two feet financially.
In the last budget, the Catholic Church received 250 million euros from the State.