April 6, 2015

Hospitals to testify against property tax legislation

A number of Connecticut hospitals are set Monday afternoon to testify against a bill that would allow cities and towns to charge property taxes to off-campus properties owned by hospitals.

As of Monday morning, seven hospitals and health systems, as well as the the Connecticut Hospital Association, had submitted written testimony arguing that the legislation would add another financial burden on top of proposed cuts to Medicaid rates and a proposed increase in the state's hospital tax.

Combined, the proposals would "threaten the ability of hospitals to maintain community benefits at their current levels, and would affect access and services for all patients," the CHA wrote.

But Office of Policy Management Secretary Benjamin Barnes feels differently.

He wrote that the bill targets a growing trend of hospitals expanding beyond their traditional campuses, which has meant previously taxable properties have fallen off the tax rolls.

"It should not be the intention of the property tax exemption or the PILOT program to continually remove non-acute care medical property from local tax rolls and impose costs for reimbursement on state taxpayers," Barnes wrote.

The Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee's public hearing is at 1 p.m. in the Legislative Office Building.

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