Nonprofits' property tax breaks under scrutiny

Nonprofits' property tax breaks under scrutiny

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Much is at stake for the state's nonprofit community, said Ann Gingerich, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations, whose group hasn't taken a position on the amendment push.

Nonprofits are exempted from property taxes because they save the public sector money by providing services to citizens who would otherwise turn to the government for help, she said.

"Historically, nonprofits were formed for the purpose of relieving government of its burden of providing services to vulnerable populations in the community and we continue to relieve the government of its burden by providing services worth millions throughout Pennsylvania," she said. "Having tax-exempt status allows us to do that in the way that is the most cost-efficient."

What nonprofits need is a set of fair, predictable rules to determine eligibility, she said. With the status quo, nonprofits are exposed to the uncertainty of how the judges interpret the rules. But if the constitution is amended, it will set off a new round of wrangling over what those rules should say.

"We would really love to see government and nonprofits come to the same table and figure out who contributes what to the community solution and what makes the most sense," she said.

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Allentown Morning Call
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