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Christie wants to freeze nonprofit hospitals’ tax assessments

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Morristown Medical Center.

The Bergen Record reports that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has proposed a plan to freeze property-tax assessments for tax-exempt hospitals for 2016 and 2017.

The proposal comes after Gov. Christie pocket vetoed legislation  to make some nonprofit hospitals  pay a daily rate to support public-safety and municipal services. The legislation was a response to a lawsuit challenging Morristown (N.J.) Medical Center’s tax exemption. A state judge’s ruling in that case found that the 687-bed nonprofit hospital mostly operated as a for-profit entity; the hospital agreed to pay a $15.5 million settlement over the next decade to resolve the issue.

“The subject of property tax-exemptions is a complex issue that has not been comprehensively reviewed or legislatively modified in more than seven decades,” said Governor Christie, according to the paper.  “While I applaud the Legislature for taking quick action to address the urgent needs of these non-profits, this is a matter that deserves more careful study from everyone who would be impacted and a thoughtful policy discussion.”

The Record reported that during the tax-assessment freeze, a nine-member commission would develop proposals to resolve the issue.

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