Will Philadelphia squeeze PILOTS out of more nonprofits?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Philadelphia hospitals, universities and other nonprofits are undeniably good for the city. They provide jobs and crucial services. But there's a catch: Nonprofits pay little or nothing in property taxes.

More than five months ago, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision appeared to give Philadelphia leverage to demand money from nonprofit organizations that are exempt from property taxes.

Legal experts say the decision makes it harder for nonprofits to qualify as tax-exempt, giving cities the power to compel them to make "payments in lieu of taxes" (PILOTs). But so far, Philadelphia officials haven't made a move.

Philadelphia Jobs with Justice, a coalition of labor and community groups, wants Mayor Michael Nutter to make nonprofits prove that they are still tax-exempt under the new ruling.

"We know we need funding," said Gwen Snyder, executive director of Philadelphia Jobs with Justice. "We're seeing our library hours cut. We've seen pools close over the summer."

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