Friday, September 10, 2010
Attention from the media notwithstanding, the nonprofit sector continues to achieve remarkable success in state supreme courts and statehouses in defending property-tax exemptions. But budget pressures remain. While the intermediate use of “payments in lieu of taxes” has not yet become a systematic compromise solution, PILOTs are attracting growing interest from local taxing jurisdictions. This Article highlights three issues – who decides the parameters of exemption, legislatures or courts; what are the specific factors and vulnerable subsectors; and how exemption is granted or withheld in practice – and concludes with several PILOT case studies. The Appendix sets forth a fifty-one-jurisdiction review of state constitutions, statutes, and high-court decisions, and finds that the regimes generally are more similar than not.