Attorney general seeks stay of tax ruling

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.

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ROB McCOLLEY wrote on February 02, 2016 at 8:02 am
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Whaddya gonna do?

rsp wrote on February 02, 2016 at 10:02 am

A stay does make some sense, considering the impact of the ruling. You know it will be appealed so it's better to just stop everything in place than to keep "refunding money". Of course if they can get it expedited Urbana should be able to collect those taxes. And a lot of other cities too.

dammer674 wrote on February 02, 2016 at 1:02 pm

I think the City of Urbna should wait to see if they collect any taxes from the two hospitals before they lower anything. If the ruling is overturned they will have to get more from everyone next year.

Voice of Reazon wrote on February 03, 2016 at 9:02 am

Thank Mayor Prussing for the continuing departure of business from Urbana.  Never mind that the Carle facility attracts thousands of people every day who buy food, gas and lodging, and pay sales tax, in Urbana. 

Business, investment and commerce go where they are wecomed and appreciated.  When the view of local offcials is that commerce is a nuisance to be tolerated and taxed, don't expect an infux of new money.  Ask people if they want to start a business in Urbana, and they laugh.

Tax money ultimately comes from individuals; all of us who go to Carle will pay more so that Carle can pay its property taxes.  Question:  How much money does Urbana actually spend to support Carle?  Maybe resurface 2 miles of University and Lincoln Avenues every 10 years?