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Court to decide whether Illinois nonprofit hospitals have to pay property tax

By John Gregory
 The Illinois Supreme Court will hear a case challenging the property tax exemption for nonprofit hospitals in the state.

The Chicago Tribune reports hundreds of millions of dollars for hospitals are at stake in the case. The plaintiffs, however, argue nonprofits make more than enough to pay property taxes like other businesses.

“If the law is struck down, then it’s going to be a big issue for not-for-profit hospitals across the state,” said John Colombo, a tax law professor at the University of Illinois. “I bet a lot of municipalities and taxing jurisdictions would look at this and say, ‘Ah-ha, here’s an extra $1 million to $2 million or extra $200,000 or $300,000 that will go toward the school, toward fixing the roads,’ and they’re going to be aggressive about (getting) that.”

Illinois has about 156 nonprofit hospitals. Many of the largest did report sizable net income in 2015, like $198 million for Northwestern Memorial Hospital and its 14.8 percent profit margin. A few were in the red, such as Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, which lost $22.7 million in 2015.

Hospitals contend the money saved from not paying property taxes goes to charity care and benefits for the community. Read the full article below: