Attorney general seeks stay of tax ruling
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois attorney general's office is asking the 4th District Appellate Court to hold back the effect of its decision last month that found the state's tax exemption/charity care law unconstitutional, pending further review by the state's Supreme Court.
A motion to stay the enforcement, force and effect of the Jan. 5 decision in the case involving the Carle health system, local taxing districts and the state Department of Revenue was filed with the appellate court Jan. 28.
In its decision, the appellate court found the state's 2012 charity care law, which redefined the terms by which nonprofit hospitals receive property tax exemptions, unconstitutional because it creates a tax exemption for hospitals without requiring their properties to be used exclusively for charitable purposes.
Based on that decision, the Champaign County Board of Review last week voted to place both Carle and Presence Covenant Medical Center back on the local tax rolls, while Carle announced it plans to appeal the appellate court's decision to the state Supreme Court.
The motion filed by Assistant Attorney General Carl Elitz states the Department of Revenue is seeking further appellate review in the state Supreme Court, but anticipates it will continue receiving tax exemption applications while the Carle appeal progresses.
"Without relief from the judgment, its authority to do so or take any action on pending applications is unclear," the motion states.
Elitz also contended that the justices who first declared the state charity care law unconstitutional — the 4th District Appellate court — are most familiar with the decision and its likely effect.
Mike Monson, chief of staff for Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing, said the city will fight any move to stay the appellate court decision.
Once the hospital properties are assessed and billed for 2015 property taxes, Prussing said, Urbana residents could look forward to seeing their property taxes go down about 11 percent to 20 percent this year.