PILOT Agreements Gain in Popularity, As Non-Profits are Asked to Pay the Piper

The financial crises faced by many municipalities has them searching for ever more creative means to bolster city budgets. As a result, non-profit institutions are increasingly being asked to complete payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreements.

2 minute read

May 23, 2012, 10:00 AM PDT

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj

As recent debates in Pittsburgh and Providence, R.I. bring PILOT agreements to national attention, Kevin Kiley describes the confluence of factors leading property-tax-exempt nonprofits, "often under duress from local
officials," to agree to such deals with local governments to help municipalities
balance their budgets. The subject was the topic of a daylong series of panels hosted earlier this week by the Urban Institute.

"Over the course of the day, speakers said they believe municipalities,
and potentially regional governments such as counties, will place
increasing pressure on nonprofits to contribute more to local government
budgets. Most of the speakers were supportive of PILOT agreements,
recognizing that the size and role of nonprofits, particularly large
colleges, universities and medical centers, have changed dramatically
since states established the tax exemption. Such organizations also use
up a significant amount of municipal resources, they argue. Colleges and
universities, particularly those that own a significant amount of land
and have considerable financial resources, are likely to be an easy
target for government pressure."

"Daphne Kenyon, an economist at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy,
said there is growing support for taxing traditionally tax-exempt
institutions, particularly colleges, hospitals and even religious
institutions. Speakers at the Urban Institute meeting said it might be
financially better for nonprofits to strike PILOT agreements now to
mollify critics rather than face the revocation of their tax-exempt
status in a few years."


Tuesday, May 22, 2012 in Inside Higher Ed

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