2/18/16

Property tax case appealed

Carle and Presence appeared before the Champaign County Board of Review on Tuesday to appeal actions to place both hospitals on the property tax rolls for 2015.

Carle does not believe the Champaign County Board of Review has the legal authority to tax local hospitals.
 
Regardless, the Board of Review said Tuesday it will continue to seek property taxes on previously exempt land for 2015. Carle has a number of additional appeal mechanisms available, but if forced to pay property taxes, Carle will likely do so under protest. That means tax revenue would not be readily or permanently available to the City of Urbana, Urbana School District, Urbana Park District and other local taxing bodies. Carle could also consider filing an additional lawsuit to challenge this local action.
 
Placing hospitals on the tax rolls will have an immediate negative impact for the taxing bodies because any money municipalities collect without justification remains in question until the courts resolve the hospital tax-exemption issue.
 
By definition, the levy represents what the taxing bodies need to operate their current budgets, and the way property taxes work, municipalities receive that money whether hospitals or any other institutions are exempt.
 
So the Board of Review’s action, if successful, would make $10 million of that total levy unavailable for current use because any funds received from hospitals carries great risk of having to be refunded later. While this would decrease bills in the interim for homeowners, this short-term savings again will likely result in significant budget problems for taxing bodies, costing property owners much more in the long-term.
 
Such gambling with taxpayer money is not prudent.
 
Carle is appealing on multiple levels.

  • First, on February 9, Carle appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court a recent Fourth Appellate Court opinion that stated the law that granted property tax exemptions for non-profit hospitals is unconstitutional.
  • Second, Carle will request a Motion to Stay the decision of the Fourth Appellate Court during the appeal process.
  • And Carle will challenge any local attempt to place the organization’s tax-exempt properties on the tax rolls.

Carle is working to protect resources so we can continue to provide care to all who need it, regardless of their ability to pay. In 2014 alone, Carle provided more than $38 million in charity care at cost to more than 31,000 people. In the last five years, Carle has provided more than $155 million in charity care to more than 100,000 people. 
 
It wasn’t that Carle always paid property taxes and now doesn’t. The local taxing bodies in 2002 improperly revoked the property tax exemptions which up to that point had always been in place.
 
For decades, this country has honored the significant role non-profits play in meeting the needs of the most vulnerable. Because they fill the gap between where business leaves off and what the government can provide, non-profits have been exempt from certain taxes, including property taxes. In exchange for these exemptions, Carle has provided significant charity care to those who need it. The Carle Foundation is among those charitable organizations and has stayed true to its core purpose of providing care to all who need it, regardless of their ability to pay. 
 
Every other tax-exempt organization —churches, schools and service agencies—should be on notice that they too may receive a tax bill with the slippery slope this creates. 
 
Find information at carle.org/be-informed