From AP - News Headlines -

Urbana, Decatur Hospitals Wait on State Revenue Ruling

The Illinois Department of Revenue says it's prepared to move swiftly on decisions about which not-for-profit hospitals deserve tax breaks.

Those hospitals waiting for a decision include Carle and Provena Hospitals in Urbana, and Decatur Memorial Hospital.

The state had held off making any decisions since fall while it, hospitals, and consumer health advocates negotiated how much charity do not for profit hospitals have to provide in order to get out of paying property taxes.

But they failed to reach an agreement by Governor Pat Quinn's March First deadline.

So the department is going to resume issuing rulings. Revenue spokeswoman Sue Hofer says a backlog of up to 18 cases has built up in the interim. She says that will decrease, as decisions are made by the end of this month.

"We look forward to doing our job and making decisions, so that both the entities that we're determining about, and the local governments will have closure on how much money they can expect to gain in taxes, or how much money they may have to pay in taxes," Hofer said.

Hofer says the constitution and court precedence establish what hospitals have to do to qualify. But the state hospital association's Danny Chun says the standards aren't clear, even though big money's at stake.

"In some cases it could be millions of dollars a year, it just depends on the property that's being looked at," said Chun.

He says money spent paying a local tax bill is money that's not going to health care.

Categories: Government, Health, Politics