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Should Rich Non-Profits Pay Property Tax?

Illinois' debt is teetering on the brink junk status and, while it's struggling, rich non-profits like Northwestern University continue to buy up expensive land while paying no property taxes.
July 10, 2017, 6am PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Henryk Sadura

Property taxes in Illinois present a contentious issue.  They have (in part) caused the state to go without a budget since the summer of 2015. David M. Simon argues in the Chicago Tribune that it's time for rich non-profits to contribute their share by losing their property tax exemption."Wealthy nonprofits with expensive real estate use and benefit from the same law enforcement, fire protection and other basic services as other property owners. These nonprofits may not principally use their real estate to make money, but neither do most families," Simon writes.

Poor Illinoisans pay taxes on their property, and poor renters have tax burden passed onto them by their landlords, therefore, argues Simon, "It is inexcusable that the University of Chicago, with its $12 billion in investment assets, is exempt from taxes on its 217 acres in Hyde Park. Or that Northwestern University, with its $10 billion endowment, is exempt from taxes."  The two institutions take up hundreds of acres of valuable land and Simon thinks they could stand to pay their share.

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Published on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 in Chicago Tribune
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