Sen. Ferlo to propose plan to tax Pittsburgh nonprofits
Large Pittsburgh nonprofits would have to pay a tax on their payroll under a plan floated by Sen. Jim Ferlo.
Ferlo, D-Highland Park, said on Monday he would introduce a bill that imposes a 0.4 percent payroll preparation tax on nonprofits with more than 250 employees. The bill would lower for-profit businesses' rate from 0.55 to 0.5 percent.
Ferlo estimates the changes would net the city $5 million to $10 million. He said he is finalizing the bill and plans to solicit co-sponsors.
“The notion of payments in lieu of taxes is nice in theory, but it's not enough and it's not equitable,” Ferlo said.
City officials have complained for years that tax-exempt institutions, which include government entities, occupy about 40 percent of city real estate but contribute little monetarily for services.
Charities make voluntary contributions known as payments in lieu of taxes through an umbrella group, the Pittsburgh Public Service Fund. The group is expected to contribute $5.2 million total in 2012 and 2013. The city‘s budget this year is about $470 million.
A spokesman for UPMC, the region's largest nonprofit, declined to comment, but the health care giant has said only 51 percent of the property it owns is tax-exempt. Spokesmen for the West Penn Allegheny Health System and Carnegie Mellon University also declined to comment. A spokesman for the University of Pittsburgh did not return a call.
City Council President Darlene Harris said she supports Ferlo's plan.
“I'm for whatever he can get because right now we're not getting anything,” Harris said. “What's different if you work at a hospital or a school as opposed to PNC or a construction company?”
Joanna Doven, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's spokeswoman, said the mayor “looked forward to reviewing the proposal” but did not answer questions.
Ferlo's move was made as Allegheny County officials are scrutinizing nonprofits' property tax exemptions. Executive Rich Fitzgerald has said he directed the county's Office of Property Assessments to review the qualifications of each tax-exempt property to ensure they meet the criteria for an exemption.
Ravenstahl on Monday said, in a separate move, the city would review the tax-exempt status of the city's largest nonprofits.
Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- LaBar: The upgrade of The Wyatt Family in WWE
- Prison sentence extended for New Kensington man
- Nazi ‘gold train’ evidence mounts
- Historic WWII-era landing ship tank docking at Heinz Field
- ‘Action’ against AG Kane sent to Supreme Court, sources say
- Trib Total Media puts 9 Western Pa. newspapers up for sale
- Overnight closures, lane restrictions announced for Fort Pitt Tunnel, Parkway West
- Starkey: Steelers stopping themselves with suspensions
- Trafford man sentenced for sex with teen
- Court orders new trials for Pittsburgh cop who allegedly fell in love with drug-addicted prostitute
- Man flees Monroeville bank holdup with cash