HARTFORD, Conn. – The House approved Saturday a prospective version of Speaker Brendan Sharkey’s proposal to get colleges and hospitals to pay property taxes to towns.
The legislation, which passed in a 91 – 45 vote, would see tax-exempt institutions paying local property taxes on properties they acquire after July 1 if those properties were on the town’s grand list as of October 1, 2013.
The bill is a scaled back version of the “reverse PILOT” bill Sharkey sought to pass this year. PILOT is an acronym for Payment In Lieu Of Taxes, a grant the state uses to reimburse towns housing non-taxable institutions. The payments represent a fraction of what towns would otherwise tax on the properties, which puts some municipalities in a bind.
“In some towns you literally have universities snapping up private residences, dozens of them on a yearly basis for student housing,” Rep. Mike D’Agostino, D-Hamden, said. “Obviously that removes taxable property from the tax rolls. This bill does a nice job of giving the towns a little bit of leverage in that situation. Frankly, I wish it was retrospective.”
The new prospective bill was a compromise by Sharkey, who received pushback from some members of his caucus on the proposal over concerns about how it would impact colleges and hospitals.
Sharkey said the compromise “still plants the seed for further conversation about property taxes generally, which we’re going to do beginning right after session, actually.” In the meantime, he said the bill focuses “at least on the problem that a lot of communities are facing with regard to properties being taken off the tax rolls by large nonprofits who are expanding.”
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