TribLIVE

| Opinion/The Review


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

City of Pittsburgh v. UPMC: Necessary lawsuits

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Letters home ...

Traveling abroad for personal, educational or professional reasons?

Why not share your impressions — and those of residents of foreign countries about the United States — with Trib readers in 150 words?

The world's a big place. Bring it home with Letters Home.

Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

Daily Photo Galleries

Thursday, March 21, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
 

UPMC was quick to spin the City of Pittsburgh's legal challenge of its tax-exempt status as a vendetta fueled by politicians doing the bidding of organized labor and business interests. It's a smokescreen, of course. And rationalizations of such grand conspiracies can't hide the fact the “nonprofit” claims of this $10 billion worldwide hospital behemoth are ripe for vetting in a court of law.

In separate legal actions on Wednesday, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who is not seeking re-election, filed suit to eliminate UPMC's city payroll tax exemption. A separate filing challenges the tax-exempt status of UPMC's 150 city properties. Those exemptions are valued at as much as $20 million annually for the city and $200 million annually statewide.

The profit-motive looms large at UPMC, the city claims, citing service reductions or closures in poorer neighborhoods, lavish executive salaries and perks and an ever-expanding worldwide footprint. The nub of the lawsuits' rub is that UPMC fails to meet the state's definition of a “purely public charity,” as defined in a 2012 state Supreme Court ruling.

UPMC, Pennsylvania's largest private employer, counters that its charitable giving and uncompensated care more than offset those tax bills. And even as a nonprofit, it must compete for revenues to enable it to serve its health-care mission, revenues that are reinvested in its operations, UPMC says.

Some will argue that the cost of these lawsuits, certain to be expensive, aren't worth it. But it's past time to settle a matter that's been festering for decades and to finally define what “nonprofit” and “charity” really mean.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Editorials

  1. Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
  2. Greensburg Laurels & Lances
  3. Alle-Kiski Laurels & Lances
  4. On Independence eve: Defending liberty
  5. The overtime proposal: Regressive economics
  6. Laurels & Lances
  7. McKeesport Tuesday Takes
  8. Immigration crock: Inducing illegals
  9. The Thursday wrap