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State Seeks To Settle Issue Of Nonprofit Hospitals, Property Tax Exemptions

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Civic Federation is proposing a legal standard for nonprofit hospitals to qualify for property tax exemptions.

As WBBM Newsradio's David Roe reports, the group proposed that a non-profit hospital would only receive an exemption if it provides charitable care and other community benefits equal to or greater than the property taxes the hospital would have paid.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio's David Roe reports


Gov. Pat Quinn has set this coming Thursday as a deadline to submit recommendations for a solution to the issue of tax exemptions at nonprofit hospitals.

Other groups have other put forth proposals. The Fair Care Coalition – a group of health care advocates – has said each hospital should steer 6 percent of its total revenue toward charitable benefits to qualify for a tax exemption.

Under that proposal, 80 percent of that amount would have to be in the form of free or discounted care for the poor.

Last year, the Illinois Department of Revenue denied tax exemptions to three hospitals – Prentice Women's Hospital at Northwestern Memorial, Edward Hospital in Naperville, and Decatur Memorial Hospital. State officials concluded the facilities were all operating more like businesses than charities.

After the ruling, Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios began trying to collect property taxes from Northwestern.

The Illinois Constitution exempts any places used exclusively for charitable purposes from paying property tax. But the Department of Revenue said that the three hospitals weren't doing enough free or discounted treatment of the poor to qualify for the exemption.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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