OP-ED

It's time to tax income producing non-profits

Posted

“Providence needs a tax revolt.” I first saw this statement on a sign on Smith Street years ago. It was erected on the property of a good businessman, who had spent almost two decades honorably serving the community of Smith Hill. Years later, he is gone, but the statement remains true. We need a revolt, and the revolt must start at the State House.
Non-profits hold approximately 42 percent of the taxable real estate within the City of Providence. Under current state law, Providence does not have the right to levy taxes on those properties. Even if a non-profit owner uses land in a manner that competes directly with “for profit” businesses, the non-profit cannot be taxed. State law forbids it.
This differential in tax treatment for the same activity causes two problems. First, it creates an unfair advantage over local businesses that pay taxes. This tends to drive business away over the long term. Second, as non-profits continue to buy up key areas of Providence, their non-profit status pulls money off of the tax rolls. This punishes local homeowners and small businesspersons, who must pay more than their fair share.
It’s time to change state law. Boston, which boasts a growing and dynamic local economy, gets 16 percent on average of what a for-profit would pay, including hospitals, universities and major cultural centers. Providence, according to information from the city, gets as little as four percent from certain major non-profit institutions.
While Providence has done a number of things to improve its financial picture in the past few years, it faces pension obligations that were a result of over promising and underfunding by past administrations. Providence also needs to upgrade and repair important public infrastructure that has been neglected for too long. We need to upgrade our schools. Times change and our economic and tax policies must evolve accordingly.
There are many ideas about what the first step should look like. Any tax on non-profits must be justified and fair. One idea is to tax based on how certain real estate is used. This is a logical extension of how taxes are commonly administered in municipalities, where commercial uses are often taxed differently than residential uses.
The economic health of Providence is critical to any sustained economic success in Rhode Island. A failed Providence would be a difficult burden for the state to carry. A healthy Providence, like Boston, can be a powerful economic engine. A healthy Providence can help carry the state. It is time to empower our cities and towns with this essential financial tool.

State Rep. Daniel P. McKiernan, a Democrat, represents District 7 in Providence.

Comments

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davebarry109

Rep Dan, you're just wrong. The non-profits have been paying PILOT funds for years. Brown was extorted for millions of Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT). Now you want to tax them? Providence is in a fiscal mess not because they don't tax too much, but because they SPEND too much. Decades of corruption and one party control has given the unions everything they want. Add to that the sanctuary city aspect and welfare magnet and you get a recipe for disaster.

Thursday, November 2
richardcorrente

Dear Davebarrry109,

I would agree with you if the PILOTs were anywhere NEAR what the non-profit would have paid in taxes.

They're not.

They're not even close.

They are embarrassingly too little to compensate the city for the municipal services received.

The result? Everyone else pays more than their fair share.

I agree that our hospitals and schools should pay somewhat less in taxes, but what the do pay is insulting, especially when you total the profits that these "non-profits" are really making. By statute the "company" can't make a profit, but it's amazing how much the people at the top receive. They just can't call it "profit".

I saw a poster once of a pretty girl leaning up against someone else's expensive car for a picture. The caption read "I don't want to be rich. I just want to live that way."

On the other hand I agree with you completely about the over-spending. Perhaps a combination of those two ideas is best.

Happy Thanksgiving davebarry109.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Sunday, November 5
KaptainMorgan

Grab your popcorn everyone, the fun will soon begin!

The audacity of this lunatic is absolutely amazing! I think he really believes the crap spewing from his lips. YOU HAVE NO RIGHT complaining about taxes when you don't pay your share!!!

Sunday, November 5
Kammy

"The result? Everyone else pays more than their fair share."

Unless you are the self-proclaimed fake mayor of taxpayers. He didn't pay his fair share either. Aren't you even the tiniest bit embarrassed? You can't call out something you don't do yourself.

Tuesday, November 7
Thecaptain

Amazingly, a historical search of the fake mayor's rental property located at 1115 Greenwich Ave. indicates that every single tax payment was delinquent. In fact, from the time period of 2004 to 2016 his total interest penalties due to tax delinquency totaled $8267.79.

Now, I am hoping that the fake mayor tax cheat challenges this accusation so that I can cut and paste the xcel spread sheet showing the data.

Tuesday, November 7
richardcorrente

Dear Kammy,

I do pay my fair share. I pay my taxes in my mortgage payment to Bank of America. I don't think they pay them late but if they do that is MORE tax money for the City of Warwick, not less. If that is the case, Warwick receives MORE, not less. One more thing: I am not the "self-proclaimed fake mayor" as you say. I call myself "The Taxpayers Mayor" because I feel that I am a servant of the Warwick taxpayer. I am exceptionally proud of that because I had something to do with cutting taxes in Warwick. I campaigned for over 700 days in a row and my message got through. When the 2017 budget came up Mayor Avedisian tried to increase taxes 29 times and was unanimously shot down by the City Council every single time. I spoke to all 9 members of the City Council and they all said their constituents demanded the Council-people "Cut Taxes - Cut Spending". Their constituents got that message from me. You can say I had a lot to do with it or very little, but my 700 days had something to do with influencing the City Council. For that enormous effort, I gave myself the Taxpayers Mayor nick-name.

Happy Thanksgiving Kammy.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Monday, November 13
Kammy

Okay Richard, let's make this easy. You have run for public office and plan to again so these questions are quite reasonable.

What vehicle did you drive between 2013 and 2015 and where was it registered?

Did you pay taxes after 2013 at your 77 Grand View property?

Thecaptain has been diligent in doing his homework. He has referenced public records on numerous occasions which you side-step every single time. You like to throw out a red herring and comment on that you weren't late on taxes for your 1115 Greenwich Ave. property but you never reply regarding your vehicle and 77 Grand View. If you have, then please point me to that mention.

You said, "One more thing: I am not the "self-proclaimed fake mayor" as you say. I call myself "The Taxpayers Mayor" because I feel that I am a servant of the Warwick taxpayer." Then why not call yourself servant? The very definition of mayor is , "the ELECTED or APPOINTED head of a city, town or other municipality". You are neither. Do you not understand you are making a false and fake claim?

It is starting to become alarming that you are not able to see what you are doing is wrong. You comment on paying taxes and there is proof that you have failed to pay your taxes during certain points over the years. You claim to be a mayor and you haven't been elected to the position. Tell me Richard, what else are you lying about?

Thursday, November 16