March 26, 2012 | last updated June 1, 2012 1:26 pm
LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Proposed Hartford PILOT program warrants cautious consideration

To the Editor:

With the Segarra administration considering a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program for nonprofit organizations in Hartford, nonprofits could face an unfair financial burden resulting in a reduction of services to the city's residents.

Like similar proposals seen across the country, the proposed program in Hartford (as described in the March 5th article, City to nonprofits: Pay up) is aimed at generating tax revenue from larger nonprofits, such as universities and hospitals. However, all nonprofits within the city of Hartford would likely be requested to participate. Unfortunately, nonprofits have already faced multiple years of significant funding reductions. Due to long-term underfunding, these organizations have been forced to make difficult decisions in order to survive, often at the expense of providing essential services to the community.

Despite significantly reduced funding, nonprofits have continued to offer the city and state cost-effective services to improve and strengthen their communities. The cost savings and benefits of these services to the Hartford community far exceed the monetary contribution that would be exchanged through a PILOT. In addition, nonprofits contribute significantly to the city's economy by employing area residents in both full- and part-time capacities.

As Hartford explores ways to generate revenue, I urge everyone to consider what a PILOT program would mean for the city's already struggling nonprofit community. Generating revenue for municipalities shouldn't come at the cost of our most vulnerable residents' care and well-being.

Ron Cretaro, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Nonprofits

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