Bill would allow lawmakers to decide tax-exempt status

Written by The Associated Press | Apr 22, 2013 4:03 AM

(Pittsburgh) -- A bill quietly circulating in the state Legislature would change Pennsylvania's constitution to allow state lawmakers rather than the judicial system to decide what nonprofit entities deserve tax-exempt status. 

The measure would give lawmakers the final say on what is a "purely public charity" eligible for tax exemption.

Supporters say it would provide statewide consistency and keep nonprofits from being subject to different court rulings in different parts of the state.

But opponents call it an end-run to shift tax exemption authority away from communities increasingly willing to go to court to force hospitals, universities and other nonprofits to contribute.

A constitutional amendment must pass both houses in consecutive legislative sessions and then goes before the voters for approval.

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