The Hartford Courant, in an editorial published in its Saturday, April 12 edition, supports the position taken by the University of Hartford and other institutions in the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges (CCIC) with regard to the Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) program.
The University of Hartford and CCIC have said that the state should not change the current PILOT program, which reimburses Connecticut municipalities for the property tax revenues lost by having nonprofits, such as colleges and hospitals, in their communities.
A proposal by House Speaker Brendan Sharkey would have the nonprofit hospitals and colleges pay the full property tax to the town, then go to the state for the PILOT payment. If the reimbursement rate stays the same, the colleges and hospitals would get 32 percent of their tax payments back, leaving them out quite a bit of money, notes the Courant editorial.
The Courant editorial noted that "just because a college or hospital isn't paying property taxes doesn't mean it isn't contributing to the community. The University of Hartford, for example, offers scholarships to Hartford residents, has made land available for two magnet schools, helps incubate small businesses in the Upper Albany neighborhood and beautifully renovated an empty car dealership into an arts building, among other things.
If the school was pressed for property tax revenue and had to abandon programs such as these, would Hartford be better off? Is it worth the chance?," asked the Courant.