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If you live in Philly, you've probably noticed a pattern in the way that our mayor talks about money. Every budget cycle, he tells us soberly that as much as he would like to fund everything. there just isn't enough money. We need to make cuts. Some years it's to our libraries and pools. Some years it's our schools.
He tells us that the cuts are our only option.
What if I told you that there were at least 107 million dollars in institutional property taxes that Mayor Nutter is legally obligated to tax--and isn't? Bear with me--this is a little detailed, but it's important:
This April, the State Supreme Court decided that all property-holding nonprofits need to meet a stringent set of criteria--the HUP test--in order to qualify for property tax exemption.
Now, we're not saying that every nonprofit should pay property taxes. But when a university like Penn buys a hotel and runs it for profit, or a hospital lets land lie vacant and undeveloped--then, Mayor Nutter is legally obligated to collect property taxes.
Under this Supreme Court ruling, the Nutter administration is legally required to issue tax bills to all property-holding nonprofits this December. It's on the nonprofit to take a few minutes and re-file for tax exemption under the HUP test criteria.
Last year, $528 million in property taxes went uncollected due to exemptions. The budgetary shortfall that threatened to destroy our schools was $90 million.
So what is Nutter's administration planning to do? Apparently, wait for nonprofits like Penn to come to them. When asked by WHYY, senior administration tax attorney Christine Bak stated, "I would hope very much some of those would contact us and want to get into some kind of tax contribution agreement again."
Call 215-686-2181 today, and demand that Mayor Nutter obey the law and issue tax bills to all property-holding nonprofits this December. He needs to hold big institutions like Penn and Jefferson accountable to the same rules he holds working people to.