SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - SPRINGFIELD -- The case of Carle vs. the city of Urbana went in front of the state's Supreme Court on Thursday. Hospital leaders say they shouldn't have to pay property taxes because of the charitable care they offer. Urbana's mayor Laurel Prussing doesn't see it that way. She says the business owners and people who live in her city shouldn't have to cover costs that Carle should pay instead.
This issue has been going back and forth for years. In 2004, Carle applied to be exempt from paying property taxes. In 2008, a Champaign County court said no. Then the Charity Care Act came along in 2012. It said if a hospital donates more service than it pays in property taxes, it should be exempt from paying them. Then an appellate court ruled that law is unconstitutional. Now the Illinois Supreme Court will weigh in.
"All hospitals, in particular the Carle Foundation Hospital, is spending millions and millions of dollars benefiting thousands of patients who would otherwise go without healthcare," said Steve Pflaum, who is an attorney for Carle.
"You can't tell me that if you're raking in $165 million, you can't pay $6 million in property taxes and that your $6 million burden should be shifted on to every other tax payer who has no where near the financial capability Carle has," said Prussing.
Prussing says it's not fair for taxpayers to have to do more because the hospital won't pay. But Carle leaders say there have been exemptions like this since the 1940's, so they just want to clear this up and restore the status quo.
The Supreme Court is expected to give an opinion later this year.
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