Villanova University campus. Photo via Flickr user Vallanova Law Library.
This post originally appeared in the Philadelphia Business Journal here.
The Inquirer recently reported that all three higher education institutions, which sit on some of the highest-valued land in Radnor, are exempt from real estate taxes because of their nonprofit status.
The schools argue that they provide great economic value to the area by just existing. They attract students, visitors and employ workers, for example. They even hired Philadelphia consulting firm Econsult Solutions to further their case. But Radnor thinks the schools should be making voluntary payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOTs, to help cover respective use of police, fire and other essential services, the Inquirer said.
The township has suggested the schools pay roughly the same amount they would pony up in municipal property taxes, or $711,000 for Villanova, $148,000 for Cabrini, and $80,000 for Eastern. Those figures do not include the tax rates for the county and school district, which have not requested payments.
PILOTs are typically used in cash-strapped cities to lure voluntary aid from nonprofit organizations that are, by law, tax-exempt.
This past summer, the University of Pennsylvania similarly came under fire by people in the West Philadelphia community. They criticized Penn’s relationship with the city, and asked it to do its part by entering a PILOT agreement, the Daily Pennsylvanian reported.
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