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Advocacy

Letter to the Editor

Published: December 21, 2014, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It would be wrong to tax charitable nonprofits

I was disappointed to read the Nov. 16 Forum commentary “Beware the Charities Amendment.” It tried to persuade lawmakers and citizens that our state’s charitable nonprofit organizations should have to pay taxes.

My letter represents the views of these nonprofits:

  • Association of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania
  • Leading Age PA
  • Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers
  • Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools
  • Pennsylvania Catholic Conference
  • Pennsylvania Catholic Health Association
  • Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry
  • Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition
  • Pennsylvania State Alliance of YMCAs
  • Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association
  • The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania
  • United Way of Pennsylvania

Our organizations share a common mission to provide educational, spiritual and essential services to individuals, families and communities. They help relieve government of a costly burden, and without them, critical needs would not be met.

For decades, Pennsylvania law allowed charitable nonprofits that met strict criteria to receive relief from paying taxes. This relief enabled charitable nonprofits to use limited financial resources to educate, treat, care for and support our fellow Pennsylvanians.

Unfortunately, a 2012 court ruling has distracted our organizations from doing the charitable works people rely on them to do. This ruling has compelled charitable nonprofits to find new funds to protect against legal challenges to their tax-exempt status.

As a result, our organizations risk not being able to support the food banks, homeless shelters, mental health programs and other services that our communities need and depend upon.

If Pennsylvania lawmakers decide to introduce a “Charities Amendment” in the coming session, we encourage every lawmaker and citizen to support it! It would ensure that charitable nonprofit organizations can keep their focus on critical programs and services instead of paying for costly legal challenges.

ANDY CARTER
President and CEO
The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania

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