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Illinois Supreme Court Weighing Hospital Tax Status

Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing
Brian Mackey
NPR Illinois
Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing says losing Carle hospital and clinics from tax rolls has shifted the burden onto other taxpayers.

The Illinois Supreme Court considered a case Thursday that asks whether not-for-profit hospitals have to pay property taxes.

The case involves Urbana-based Carle hospital and clinics — though it could affect health systems across Illinois.

At issue is the constitutionality of a state law that exempts not-for-profit hospitals from paying property taxes.

Carle attorney Steven Pflaum argues every dollar a charitable hospital would spend on taxes takes away from other priorities.

"Hospitals are not-for-profit entities, and they need to be able to devote their resources for the charitable purposes that they serve, to delivering high-quality health care," Pflaum says.

But Laurel Prussing, the mayor of Urbana, says losing Carle from the tax rolls cost the city 11 percent of its tax base.

"What it did was shift Carle's burden to every other taxpayer in Urbana," Prussing says. "Every other business, and all the residents."

There's no timeline for when the justices might rule on the case.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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