Pittsburgh's mayor said UPMC should pay property and payroll taxes because the hospital operator fails to meet state criteria for tax exemption, citing legal counsel that found the UPMC system likely spends too little on free care for low-income patients and too much on executive compensation to merit tax breaks.
Luke Ravenstahl, Pittsburgh's mayor, announced the city's legal department would challenge UPMC's tax exemptions in court.
“UPMC must act like the charity it claims to be,” Ravenstahl said in a news release. “It is time for UPMC to engage in a serious conversation with the city and key stakeholders about its responsibilities to our community.”
Ravenstahl cited a legal opinion that said UPMC would likely fail to meet three of five state criteria for tax exemption as a charitable institution “because its commitment to charity is dwarfed by its preoccupation with profits.” UPMC paid $15 million to eight executives, and that compensation appears “excessive,” the legal opinion said.
Jeffrey Romoff, president and CEO for the system, earned $5.5 million for the year that ended in June 2011, the most recent publicly available tax filing shows. That does not include an estimated $450,000 in additional compensation.