Clarification On What Institutions Qualify As Charities

06.27.13 | Abby Lutcher

Wednesday's 118-82 vote in the Republican-controlled House put aside objections by Democrats that cash-strapped cities will be hurt. The Senate approved it in March. If approved in the next two-year session of the Legislature, the proposal could be sent out to a statewide referendum in 2015. The amendment would let lawmakers decide which institutions qualify as "purely public charities" that are exempt from local taxes, including hospitals, universities and churches. A 2012 state Supreme Court ruling limited lawmakers' power to broaden the definition of tax-exempt charities and said the courts hold that constitutional responsibility. Democrats oppose reverting to a state law that they say allows many institutions to escape paying taxes under questionable circumstances and prevents municipalities from challenging that status.