Tax-exempt charities and municipal services: lawsuits and their collateral consequences | Opinion

March 12, 2015

In light of the major litigation that has been going on between Morristown and its largest employer, the Morristown Medical Center, part of Atlantic Health Systems, and being aware of the potential consequences that a decision is likely to have, and one that is expected to reach the New Jersey’s Supreme Court, Linda Stamato and Sanford Jaffe, co-directors of the Center for Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, wrote an opinion column that appeared in the Perspective section of the Star Ledger on March 15, 2015 and earlier, on NJ.com, March 12.

The case highlights the heavy burden placed by tax-exempt property on some of our state’s towns and cities, a subject of considerable interest to their former friend and colleague, Don Kruckeberg (“Property without community: The (frequent) consequence of tax exemptions for non-profit institutions.” In Private Property in the 21st Century.)  At the same time, the case points to the potential cost to non-profits if the hospital loses its exemption.  The authors question whether the courts are the best venue for determining public policy issues such as these.
The case is being watched closely across the state.  And, if both parties can arrive at a formula that reflects recognition of services provided by the town and that generates certain, predictable annual payments to Morristown, there could be an added benefit as well:  Municipalities across the state would then have an approach to use to help cover the costs of the services they provide to charitable and other non-profit, tax-exempt entities.Read the complete column at NJ.com, March 12

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