Saturday, 2:15 PM
Menino forms task force on contributions in lieu of taxes
By Donovan Slack, Globe Staff
Mayor Thomas M. Menino has appointed nine people to a task force charged with reviewing the tax-exempt status and contributions in lieu of taxes paid by medical and educational institutions in the city.
The panel includes Boston University President Robert Brown, Wentworth Institute of Technology President Zorica Pantic, Partners Healthcare chief executive Thomas Glynn, and Patricia McGovern, a Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center vice president. It will also include City Councilor Stephen Murphy, police officers' union president Thomas Nee, John Hancock Financial Services Vice President James D. Gallagher, and Gail Latimore, executive director of the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Group.
The panel will be chaired by Boston lawyer Stephen Kidder, a former commissioner of the state Department of Revenue.
Beginning Wednesday, the task force will examine the current contributions to the city from tax-exempt institutions, including non-monetary ones, and make recommendations to the mayor for standardizing and increasing those contributions.
"This task force is not just about generating new revenue," Menino said today in a statement. "It's about creating PILOT agreements that are equitable in terms of in-kind services, scholarships, and community opportunities."
The mayor announced his intent to create the task force last month. At the time, city officials said that, combined, tax-exempt institutions give the city $32.4 million annually in payments in lieu of taxes, a drop in the bucket when compared with what the city spends on police, fire, and other services. If their properties were taxable, the institutions would be writing checks for 10 times that amount - between $350 and $400 million each year, city officials estimated.
Officials listed the following objectives for the Commission on Tax-Exempt Institutions:
-- Set a standard level of contributions, in programs and payments, to be met by all major nonprofit land holders in the city.
-- Develop a standard methodology for valuing the community partnerships made by tax-exempt institutions.
-- Propose a structure for consolidated program and payment negotiation system, which will allow the city and its tax-exempt institutions to structure longer-term, sustainable partnerships focused on improving services for Boston residents.
-- Clarify the costs associated with providing city services to tax-exempt institutions
-- If necessary, provide recommendations on legislative changes needed at the city or state level.
Donovan Slack can be reached at email@example.com.