A battle is raging in the senate about how far proposed exemptions to the Imposta Comunale Immobiliare (real estate council tax) should go. A majority in government want to extend the ICI exemption to ecclesiastical properties used for commercial ends. At present it only applies to cultural sites. Under new proposals, hotels, restaurants, private schools, nursing homes, even souvenir shops and car parks owned by the Church could be excluded from the charge. The fashionable private schools S. Gabriele institute and S. Giuseppe de Merode college could be the first to benefit from the new arrangements. In defence of the proposals, Rome budget councillor, Marco Causi, has said: the government may decide to subsidise certain categories of buildings, as already happens with some businesses, though communes will have to be compensated for loss of taxes. Otherwise, inevitable cuts in services will end up penalising the public. At present, however, the plans are stalled on technicalities in the commissione lavori pubblici (public works committee).
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