The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center was assailed for its tax exemptions, wages and view of unions Tuesday during a special Pittsburgh City Council meeting on nonprofit groups.
Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak called the meeting to discuss the social and economic impact of nonprofit groups, which draw criticism from city officials because they don't pay property taxes on all of their land and buildings. Some city and Allegheny County officials believe that a recent state Supreme Court ruling on the definition of a tax-exempt entity opens a window for challenging some groups' exemptions.
The city, county and Pittsburgh Public Schools together would realize an additional $35 million annually if UPMC paid taxes on hundreds of exempt parcels. County Controller Chelsa Wagner has estimated that the county would generate an additional $95 million annually if UPMC and nonprofits paid taxes on all of their properties.
However, UPMC was criticized for more than its tax exemptions. Workers complained about low wages and attempt to prevent them from organizing. Ms. Rudiak, council President Darlene Harris and Councilman Bill Peduto expressed support for the organizing effort.
Ms. Rudiak said UPMC did not accept her invitation to speak. UPMC has said that it makes substantial contributions to the community, partly through free medical care and the Pittsburgh Promise college scholarship program, and that additional taxes "would only serve to limit the amount of money UPMC could re-invest to serve the city, county and region, create new jobs, or contribute to community benefits like the Pittsburgh Promise."
First Published June 27, 2012 12:15 AM