Report Urges Colleges to Work With Cities on Tax Payments

December 1, 2010

Colleges and universities shouldn't wait for the cities and towns where they are located to hit them up for tax payments (as often happens when economic woes grow) -- they should work with municipalities to craft fair and clear-cut arrangements, a new report argues. The report, from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, examines the deals known as "payments in lieu of taxes" (or PILOTs), and characterizes them as a logical way for tax-exempt colleges and other groups to both pay for the public services they use and provide much-needed revenue to their home areas. But the arrangements "are often haphazard, secretive, and calculated in an ad hoc manner that results in widely varying payments among similar nonprofits," says the report, in arguing for more thoughtful approaches.

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