IL Supreme Court gives hospitals win over property tax exemptions, but still not declared 'constitutional'
Hospital operators in Illinois have won a battle in the fight over a state law blocking local governments from making them pay property taxes, as the Illinois Supreme Court determined an appellate court had erred on procedural grounds in using the case to strike down the state law as unconstitutional. However, the high court did not go so far as to declare the 2012 law to be constitutional, setting the stage for more legal tussles to come on the question.
In the latest move in the ongoing battle between Illinois state union workers and Gov. Bruce Rauner, a state appeals court has refused the governor’s request to lift a court-ordered stay on the Illinois Labor Relations Board’s finding that the state and its largest union are at an impasse, a move that will impact the ability of Rauner to impose contract terms and of the union to strike.
The Illinois Supreme Court could soon decide whether hospitals in Illinois should be allowed to avoid paying property taxes, or whether a state law used to grant them tax exemptions should be declared unconstitutional. Or the court could simply sidestep the matter for now, and instead await the arrival of a different case better suited for addressing the sticky legal questions.
In the wake of an Illinois appellate court decision striking down as unconstitutional the state law allowing Illinois’ nonprofit hospitals to avoid property taxes, a Chicago real estate investment group has filed a class action lawsuit against all every hospital in Illinois, alleging property owners in Cook County and elsewhere have been forced to pay higher real estate taxes than they otherwise should have to make up for what the plaintiffs allege the hospitals should have been paying.