Non-profits give mixed reviews on proposed payments

PROVIDENCE, RI – In his budget address Monday night, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras called on tax-exempt colleges, universities and hospitals to pay the equivalent of 25 percent of what their property taxes would be if they were not exempt.

The universities are open to the idea, but the hospitals are saying no way.

Providence hospitals are giving away $300,000 worth of free care a day and should not be asked to do more. That's according to Ed Quinlan, president of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island.

"We feel that a formal payment in lieu of taxes program would not recognize the contribution that hospitals are already making," says Quinlan.

The city's four colleges, which have paid $30 million over the last eight years for city services, are open to paying more says Dan Egan, president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Rhode Island.

"I think if we put our heads together and work with the mayor and the city and have conversations there's plenty of ways we can help offset what's happening but we'd like to see other sectors participate," Egan says.

The pressure on hospitals and colleges to pay for city services is one of the mayor's strategies to close a $109 million deficit for next year.

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