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Christie proposes two-year moratorium on hospital property tax plan

Friday, March 25, 2016   (0 Comments)
Share | 3/21/2016

Nearly two months after he vetoed without explanation a bipartisan solution that lawmakers had come up with, Gov. Chris Christie has now directly weighed into the debate over whether nonprofit hospitals in New Jersey deserve full property tax exemptions. While lawmakers favored establishing a new fee for the hospitals, Christie’s proposed remedy would sidestep that issue altogether by maintaining the status quo for two more years. That, he said, would give a special study commission time to take a long look at whether the state’s decades-old property tax exemption law still meshes with the way nonprofit hospitals operate in the 21st century, and old off lawsuits addressing the same issues.  Lobbying groups for both the hospitals and municipal governments across the praised Christie’s proposal after it was announced Friday during a news conference held at Trinitas Hospital in Elizabeth.  The New Jersey Hospital Association, the lobbying group that advocates for the nonprofit hospitals, agrees with that approach. “this bill allows our state to take a deep breath and work carefully and collaboratively to address the uncertainty created by the tax court decision on nonprofit hospitals’ tax exemptions,” Said Betsy Ryan, the president and chief executive of the organization. The New Jersey League of Municipalities, which lobbies on behalf of the state’s 565 towns and cities, also praised the governor’s proposal on Friday (March 18).  But Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) suggested the governor’s plan could have problems in his chamber. Legislation will need to be passed both to set up the task force and to institute the two-year freeze on litigation.

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