June 15, 2006
Colombo on Hospital Property Tax Exemption in Illinois
John D. Colombo (Illinois) has published Hospital Property Tax Exemption in Illinois: Exploring the Policy Gaps, 37 Loy. U. Chi. L.J. 493 (2006). Here is the Conclusion:
The analysis presented in Part IV of this Article illustrates that the question of what doctrinal tests the court should employ to govern property tax exemption for hospitals and other health care providers is far more complex than popular press accounts might lead one to believe or than the Illinois courts may have realized. One can hardly blame the courts, however, for lacking the expertise in health care or tax policy to appropriately recognize the pitfalls inherent in interpreting property tax exemption rules. Even the Internal Revenue Service, whose job it is to think more comprehensively about tax policy and its far-reaching effects, has fallen into a similar trap.
But the policy problems identified above are real, and they demand the serious attention of the legislature, rather than piecemeal attention by courts followed by a spasm of legislative action when newspaper headlines roar. Without such consideration, the process of individual adjudication by litigation almost certainly will result in ill-conceived tax and health policy as a by-product of defining charitable property tax exemption. The people of Illinois (and other states where these issues may arise) and the uninsured who are directly affected by these policy decisions deserve better.
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