City Officials Question UPMC Tax Breaks

UPMC Employees Teri Collins and Kathy Cabbagestalk testify at a Pittsburgh City Council hearing.

UPMC employees Teri Collins and Kathy Cabbagestalk testify at Pittsburgh City Council about UPMC’s low wages and management’s intimidation of employees trying to improve their jobs by forming a union.

Following a report released by Allegheny County’s controller, Chelsea Wagner, about the impact of not-for-profit tax-exemptions, City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak convened a City Council hearing to take a closer look at UPMC, Pittsburgh’s largest non-profit corporation.

Right now, big non-profit organizations can use their charitable work to shelter their for-profit ventures costing taxpayers billions of dollars in lost revenue.

UPMC, which owns the top-grossing hospital in the country, is the main beneficiary of Pittsburgh’s goodwill. Last year, UPMC Presbyterian-Shadyside brought in $10.19 Billion in revenue. Yes, that’s Billion with a capital B.

In 2011, UPMC’s tax breaks cost taxpayers $204 Million.

This is money that could be used to stop drastic cuts to our schools. Or to stop unprecedented cuts to transportation that even UPMC admits will be a huge burden for patients.

UPMC’s income taxes, if paid in full, could cover the budget deficit for both the Pittsburgh Public Schools and the Port Authority, and still leave $72 million left over.

“While some exemptions are fair, like those for churches and soup kitchens, others are plainly unfair, and these unfair tax breaks are causing real hurt to real people as public transit, human services, education and other essential functions of government are cut,” Wagner said in her report. “We need to protect County taxpayers by ensuring that the only organizations that get property-tax breaks are the ones that deserve them.”

Community leaders, finance experts, policy makers and UPMC workers testified at the meeting about the impact of UPMC’s tax breaks.

Click here to read more about Tuesday’s meeting

Read Controller Wagner’s full report here.

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