Hospital executives in Illinois last week fought before the state Supreme Court to maintain not-for-profits' property tax exemption.
In the case before the state Supreme Court, the city of Urbana and other taxing bodies argue that the local Carle Foundation Hospital should pay property taxes despite a state law that allows such exemptions if the property in question is used exclusively for charitable purposes.
Some of the justices questioned whether the Illinois 4th District Appellate Court last year had the jurisdiction to consider the case. That court ruled the law unconstitutional.
Local governments say the state's 150 not-for-profit hospitals are plenty profitable and therefore should contribute their share of taxes to help fund cash-strapped municipalities.
Carle's attorney Steven Pflaum argued that under the state law, a facility can be considered exclusively used for charitable purposes so long as it's “made available to all who need it regardless of ability to pay.” Pflaum argued that Carle's charitable services far exceeds what it would pay in yearly property taxes. He said Carle paid roughly $20 million in property taxes from 2004 to 2011.
Carle provided $30.6 million in charity care in 2015, according to the hospital.
The Illinois Health and Hospital Association filed an amicus brief in August 2016 supporting Carle Foundation. The American Hospital Association also weighed in on behalf of Carle.
A decision in the case is expected in the coming months.