Still no action on state hospital tax
CHICAGO (AP) – Following through on a promise, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced more than two months ago that the state would resume denying tax exemptions to hospitals that operate more like businesses than charities. His action meant hospitals could lose millions of dollars each year.
But the state has taken no action on 17 pending tax exemption applications, despite calls from advocates to make hospitals live up to their missions and the demands of municipal officials who believe they are losing valuable revenues from hospitals that don’t deserve tax breaks.
“At the end of the day, it’s costing the taxpayers millions and millions of dollars for the Department of Revenue to delay these decisions,” said Cook County assessor’s office spokeswoman Kelley Quinn, adding that further delay could mean a lost year of revenues for some taxing districts.
The governor’s office denies a hold-up, saying the decisions are complicated and take time. But the silence from the Department of Revenue raises concerns that the decisions are embroiled in wider negotiations in Springfield between the state and hospitals, and that the Democratic governor may be feeling pressure from the state’s influential hospital industry, a top contributor to political campaigns.