News of Carle exemption leaves no 'time to react' for Urbana schools

News of Carle exemption leaves no 'time to react' for Urbana schools

URBANA — The Urbana school district will lose more than $3 million this year because of a property tax exemption, but the school district found out too late to make cuts this year.

Urbana school board President John Dimit said the school district will continue to spend carefully, but is careful to make cuts on a systematic basis.

"We just don't have time to react," Dimit said after the board's Tuesday meeting.

During the meeting, several administrators gave board members more details about what the tax exemption has meant and will mean for the district.

Superintendent Preston Williams reminded board members that Carle has been in litigation with local taxing bodies since 2004 over property taxes.

Director of Business Carol Baker said the exemption granted to Carle because of new legislation includes additional properties than those that have been in question before, which total "an additional $1.4 million in lost tax revenue for this year."

The school district has been saving property tax money from Carle in escrow. That amount totals about $10 million over the last eight years.

However, the school district has lost out on nearly $8 million in general state aid during those years, Baker told the school board, because the state board of education bases aid on how much a district collects in property taxes, "regardless of if we are able to spend it."

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Don Owen, who will become the district's superintendent this summer, told the board the property tax exemption won't interfere with the school district's mission and dedication to Urbana's students and families.

Board member Peggy Patten said she's heard from community members who are  concerned both about their property taxes and about the school district and other local taxing bodies.

Some have contacted their legislators, she said, and Williams agreed that citizens should do so. He also suggested those who are concerned should call the Illinois State Board of Education.

Dimit pointed out during the meeting that Champaign County's two largest employers, the University of Illinois and Carle, are both expanding and have taken over properties that used to provide property tax revenue. Yet their employees might not necessarily reside in Urbana.

"It does unduly influence our ability to maintain an appropriate financial revenue compared to other districts that are property-tax rich," Dimit said. "You don't have to go very far away to see the inequity."

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lcoil79 wrote on April 17, 2013 at 4:04 am

Why is the NG attacking Carle on this?  Why no quotes in either story from Carle administration?  Why aren't they pointing out that the law allowing this was passed in May 2012 and signed into law in June 2012?  Urbana knew about this for almost a full year.  The city of Urbana knew about this and basically chose not to act to adjust budgets, I guess it's easier to just wait and villanize a local employer when they follow the law that you knew about for a year, oh and let's just get the News-Gazette's help to do it.

N-G needs to stop running one-sided stories on this and start practicing this weird thing called journalism, and try getting both sides in print.  Sensaltionalistic reporting like this to enflame and enfuriate people's emotions on subjects are just sad and meant to do one thing, sell newspapers.  And probably next week after the masses are riled, N-G will print a short story in the middle of B section with Carle's side, that no one will see or even read about since they've already declared Carle evil because of now 2 stories.

read the DI wrote on April 17, 2013 at 5:04 am

So this is about selling newspapers, huh? Then why is it online?

lcoil79 wrote on April 17, 2013 at 6:04 am

Really?  You do realize that the stories online are just copies of their print news don't you?  I'd say Sunday's headline about $6 million lost probably sold quite a few papers, but then also generated online buzz through the online "copy".

read the DI wrote on April 17, 2013 at 8:04 am

You don't seem to be paying for it.

Not to mention papers make money from advertising, not subscriptions.

lcoil79 wrote on April 17, 2013 at 9:04 am

Sorry, I didn't realize my paid subscription for daily delivery didn't count as paying for the paper.  My mistake.

read the DI wrote on April 17, 2013 at 4:04 pm

So you read the paper, then go online to rant. Finance is not your strong suit.

Cureader78 wrote on April 17, 2013 at 7:04 am

So would everyone like it better if Carle stopped providing free or reduced cost of care to their patients and then pay taxes?  I'm sure Carle would make more money that way.   Presence Covenant is also providing way more free and reduced cost healthcare than they would pay in taxes.    

enoughalready wrote on April 17, 2013 at 8:04 am

This has been coming for years and everyone knew about it; they chose to ignore it and now they resort to desperate public relations attacks.  They should be ashamed to show their faces.  You’d never know it by reading these articles, but the same people complaining now are the same people who started this mess when they attacked Provena and Carle.  They started this locally and their friends in the state legislature finished it.  Now they don’t like the way it turned out so they are whining and doing anything to change the argument.  Nothing more humiliating than picking a fight and then getting your butt kicked.  Shameful whiners.



prp wrote on April 17, 2013 at 9:04 am

Why should the REGIONS cost for charity care be paid for by kids in Urbana schools?  In effect, this is a transfer of funds from Urbana propery owners to the rest fo the county.

enoughalready wrote on April 17, 2013 at 10:04 am

Then you would agree that anyone living outside of Urbana should not have to pay  local sales tax when they shop here?  Why should the region contribute to Urbans's revenue? Or better yet, that the Mayor should start a marketing campaign suggeting that visitors, for health services, sporting events, food, meetings, or simply filling up their tank, are not welcome in Urbana?  Build a giant UrbanaBubble?

Perhaps tax-exempt Urbana churches should not allow worshippers from outside of the city limits.  Why should local residents fund the salvation of others?



Sid Saltfork wrote on April 17, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Thank you.

The typical Urbana attitude of "let's get someone else to pay for it" was showing.  Urbana has milked state, and federal grants for years while spending on non-necessities.  Urbana's lack of financial planning, and continued spending cannot be put on the other municipalities in the county.  If it were not for the medical facilities, most of the county's residents would not enter Urbana.  The majority of the county's population is not in need of "charity" health care.

serf wrote on April 17, 2013 at 4:04 pm


Your bias is showing, as is your lack of knowledge on the subject.

Sid Saltfork wrote on April 18, 2013 at 10:04 am


I lived in Urbana for close to 30 years.  My bias is showing perhaps.  As for my lack of knowledge, I would dispute that.  County residents do use both medical facilities in Urbana.  The number of county "poor" using the facilities is less than the C-U "poor" population using the facilities.  The idea of the municipality of Urbana having ownership of businesses in Urbana is absurd. Compare what services Champaign has to offer excepting the medical facilities to Urbana. 

Urbana has a history of spending on wants versus needs.  Look at the bicycle use on the bike path on Philo Road, and Rt. 130.  Either there is a 30 minute rush in the mornings, and evenings; or there are no bike riders in that area.  The money spent on the bike paths is money needed for road repair.  Windsor Rd. needs repair.  On a snowy day, it is easy to see the dividing line between Champaign, and Urbana on Windsor Rd.  The Champaign side is clear of snow, and ice.  Of course that is a county resident bias.  Quite frankly; the only draws for county residents to go to Urbana are the medical facilities, and the courthouse.  Shopping can be done on the fringe of Urbana, or primarily in Champaign.  Most restaurants, and entertainment are in Champaign also.

Property taxes will continue to rise in Urbana.  The extensive school services will have to be cut back.  The county schools have already done that.  Crime in Urbana will continue to increase.  Home values compared to the county, and Champaign will decline.  Urbana has extensively used government grants in the past.  Those grants are disappearing due to the state's, and federal financial problems.  Urbana has a spending problem; and it has spent money on the wrong things.  Now, the poor planning has come home to Urbana.  Either raise property taxes, cut spending, or both. 

mankind wrote on April 17, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Minor point here. I contend that charity isn't really "charity" if you use it as leverage for your own financial benefit. Maybe Carle should call it "tax deductible care" instead of "charitable care."  

serf wrote on April 17, 2013 at 4:04 pm

It would be an interesting angle to see what Carle considers 'charity care.'  I'd also like to see the rates that they use to come up with that $32 million number.


I know that if I were to donate a pair of shoes to Goodwill and then claim they were worth $100, the IRS would take issue with that.

Danno wrote on April 17, 2013 at 6:04 pm

You're right. Your $100 used Hush Puppies donation would likely get the ire of the IRS. Likewise, for Carle, on anything they submit to the IRS. On a far greater scale, though. Carle does not donate Hush Puppies; though perhaps, their Auxiliary network does.

serf wrote on April 17, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Likewise, for Carle, on anything they submit to the IRS.

I'm not sure I entirely agree with this statement.  Here are some charges I incurred from a hospital stay 7 years ago:

4 pairs latex gloves - $11.20

1 instant ice bag - $22.10

1 urine/stool collector (a plastic bucket) - $29.40

1 600 mg ibuprofen - $7.55

And I could go on and on.  My point is, it doesn't take long to get to a million bucks when you get to set your own outrageous prices.

Sid Saltfork wrote on April 18, 2013 at 11:04 am

Rather than blaming Carle, the question should be why Urbana has not developed a plan since Carle filed suit 9 years ago.  Urbana had to wonder what the outcome of the lawsuit would be.  Urbana held $10 million dollars of Carle's money in escrow over those years.  Why is this suddenly diasterous news to Urbana?  Why the scramble suddenly?  Why didn't Urbana plan for the financial setback?

prp wrote on April 18, 2013 at 12:04 pm

There are a couple of reasons for this.  The number of properties in this exemption is substantially greater than the number of properties at dispute over the past nine years.    If that figure were the same, the taxing bodies would just have "lost" the monies they were escrowing anyways.  Now they are dealing with a figure almost double the number that was in dispute.

Two, the taxing bodies hoped that the exemption would be processed before the taxing levy would be processed.  This would have already shifted the taxes to the rest of the property owners.  But the timing worked out in a way that the property tax bills were computed before the exemption was applied.

That's the cause for the surprise.

So what's probably going to happen is that, yeah, we're going to see severe budget cuts at the all the taxing bodies.  If the money isn't there, it can't get spent.

I just feel bad for the kids in the school system who are going to be hurt by this.

Diane W. Marlin wrote on April 18, 2013 at 6:04 pm

I serve on the Urbana City Council.  The City of Urbana and other taxing bodies such as the Urbana School District did plan for the financial setback.  We have been escrowing property taxes for years for the four main hospital properties which have been the subject of a tax dispute since 2005.    Unfortunately, the state law that was passed last year (SB2194) included provisions that caught everyone off-guard. .  For one thing, the new law essentially makes all of Carle properties in Urbana tax-exempt, including ones that previously were paying property taxes.  And, Carle filed for these new exemptions on the last possible day, long after the tax levy was set by taxing districts.  The new properties that are exempted from taxes include things like the resale shop, the power plant, parking ramps and parking lots, warehouse and grounds, class rooms as well as the North Tower, Mills Breast Cancer Institute, etc.  Finally, the bill broadened the definition of "charity care".  The end result is that health care corporations who  can show that the value of  the charity care provided exceeds the value  of the  property taxes owed will pay no property taxes.  About $61 million in assessed value will be off the books with all of Carle's property exempted from taxes in Urbana.

The City of Urbana (which receives about 15% of the property taxes you pay) had planned on setting aside $468,000 for the upcoming budget year.  Now, with all Carle properties tax-exempt, the shortfall will total $831,000.  The Urbana School District (which receives about 52% of the property taxes you pay) had set aside $1.6 million but the additional shortfall this year is $1.4 million.  

The main issue here, as Mayor Laurel Prussing has stated, is that Urbana taxpayers in effect are paying the bill for charity care for the entire region served by Carle.    As long as Carle can show that the value of its charity care (or "deductible care" as one commenter called it)  for the region exceeds the value of the property taxes owed in Urbana, it will pay no property taxes.   Since 90% of Carle's property is in the city of Urbana, the tax burden falls on the rest of Urbana's taxpayers. 

Also, to address an earlier comment:  Money used to build Urbana Park District's new swimming pool could not be used  to repair streets or pay police officers.  The Urbana Park District is an independent taxing entity and the City is not involved in operation, managment,  or financial decisions.  Voters in Urbana  approved a referendum to fund construction of the swimming pool.   

A statement on this topic from Urbana School District #116 can be found here.




Sid Saltfork wrote on April 18, 2013 at 10:04 pm

The property taxes in Urbana pay for city operations ( 15% ), and the school district ( 52% ).  The Urbana Park District is a separate percentage.  Because 90% of Carle's property is in Urbana, there is a loss of money for all three.  Because of the loss of money, and Carle's "charity care"; Urbana feels that the "entire region served by Carle" is benefiting at Urbana's expense.  What is the "entire region served by Carle"?  Does that include other counties, and municipalities?  Mattoon in Coles County utilizes Carle.  So does Paxton in Ford County.  

Do you expect other counties, and municipalities that have citizens who utilize Carle to contribute to Urbana's tax loss?  Urbana can reduce spending, raise property taxes, or do both.  The voters in Urbana get what they want.  They wanted a swimming pool with features.  The State of Illinois even helped out with a grant.  When you add up the wants that the Urbana voters spend on, and compare the needs; it really is absurd to blame the shortfall on the "entire region served by Carle".  Although, the history of Urbana's City Council seems to validate that attitude.  

Diane W. Marlin wrote on April 19, 2013 at 10:04 am

Carle is deducting the value of their  charity care for all communities from the property taxes owed to a single community. This means that Urbana taxpayers are footing the bill for ALL the discounted or free health care and related services provided by Carle, no matter where those individuals live.   It is not fair to make a single community pay for this when people in all communities benefit from it.  The benefits of this charity care are shared by the entire region and the costs should be shared as well. 

Sid Saltfork wrote on April 19, 2013 at 10:04 am

Were the benefits "shared" with the "region" prior to this?  Did Urbana "share" it's tax benefits with other communities prior to the change?  This is nothing more than Urbana whining now it loses tax benefits.

Diane W. Marlin wrote on April 20, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Yes, Carle provided regional charity care in the past.  Carle also  paid  taxes on some of its property in the past.  A couple of things changed with the recent legislation.   The state expanded the definition of "charity care" so that more items were included which could be deducted from property taxes and Carle recently expanded its care to include more people who are uninsured or underinsured.   Carle Foundation Hospital also bought/merged with  Carle Clinic in the past couple of years (I'm a little fuzzy on that transaction).  The end result is that Carle Hospital/Clinic will no longer pay any property taxes. 

And, as for Urbana whining:  The State of Illinois frequently passes  bills which cost cities money.  The vast majority of the  time, we deal with these "unfunded mandates" by cutting spending in other areas or raising revenue to pay for them.    The new Storm Water Utility Fee which will go into effect in July was necessary,in part, because of new state water quality regulations.  In the case of the Carle tax exemptions for "charity care,"  the financial burden of charity care for an entire region essentially falls on one community, kind of like an "unfunded mandate" for one town.     This is fundamentally unfair to the taxpayers of Urbana and extremely damaging long-term to our city.   




Sid Saltfork wrote on April 20, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Other communities besides Urbana are familiar with "unfunded mandates" by the state.  Other communities pay fees as you describe.  Your argument appears to be that other communities should "share" their tax revenues with Urbana based on Urbana losing revenue from Carle for "charity cases".  How realistic is that?  Urbana has chosen projects under their community entities.  The Urbana Park District being one.  The school district being another.  The loss of revenue means cutbacks in those programs.  Don't you realize that the other communities have made those cutbacks already?

Your comments appear to be elitist based on Urbana's need for cutting back on programs while others have either already done it, or did not initiate such programs in the first place.  Urbana will have to make the cutbacks in programs, or raise revenue.  Both may end up being necessary.  To whine that other communities are benefiting; and should "share" revenue with Urbana is indicative of Urbana's attitude toward the other communities.

Urbana has a history of rejecting industry.  When I moved to Urbana back in the 70's, there was the rumor of a brewery locating to the east of Urbana.  There was an outcry among the usual city leaders about such an industry locating there.  Champaign has encouraged industry.  Look at the large businesses located there; and look at Urbana's large businesses.  Oh yes, there is Carle....  Urbana voters get what they want.  Now, they must pay for their wants.  Urbana cannot milk the other communities like it has the state, and federal governments via grants that are disappearing.  If you disagree, it should be put up on a "region" referendum for the "region" voters to decide.

serf wrote on April 22, 2013 at 8:04 pm

We get it, Sid.  You don't like AP's and you don't like Urbana.  

Sid Saltfork wrote on April 23, 2013 at 7:04 am

"We" as in two personalities?  Are you responding for a group, or as an individual?