HomeCranbury PressCranbury Press NewsPLAINSBORO: Nonprofit hospital mulls options after Gov. Christie's veto

PLAINSBORO: Nonprofit hospital mulls options after Gov. Christie’s veto

By Lea Kahn, Staff Writer
PLAINSBORO — In the wake of Gov. Chris Christie’s “pocket veto” of legislation that would have required nonprofit hospitals — such as the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro — to pay fees to cover the costs of local services, Plainsboro Township officials are mulling their next move.
The state Legislature approved the bill — which would have required nonprofit hospitals to pay $2.50 per day for each hospital bed and $250 per day for each satellite emergency care facility — last month. But Gov. Christie did not sign the bill within 10 days of its passage, effectively killing it.
The bill grew out of a New Jersey Tax Court ruling that eliminated Morristown Medical Center’s tax-exempt status. The Town of Morristown challenged Atlantic Health System’s tax-exempt status for 2006, 2007 and 2008, and a lawsuit was filed in New Jersey State Tax Court.
A trial was held last year in front of State Tax Court Judge Vito Bianco, who ruled that Morristown Medical Center was operating as a for-profit hospital. The hospital and the Town of Morristown worked out an agreement that requires the hospital to pay the town $15.5 million over the next 10 years.
Without the new law in place, Plainsboro Township officials have written to the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro to seek specific information to help determine whether the hospital — or portions of it — can be taxed.
“Part of the hospital could be taxable and part of it could be tax-exempt. The information will help determine its status. Once we get that information, it will help Plainsboro determine its next step,” Township Administrator Anthony Cancro said.
If a parcel is taxable, Mr. Cancro said, “we will work out a valuation and try to reach an amicable agreement.” Township officials have an excellent relationship with Princeton HealthCare System, which operates the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro, and “we want to maintain it,” he said.
The Princeton HealthCare System has a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes arrangement with Plainsboro Township for the Princeton Medical Arts Pavilion, which contains doctors’ offices; the Princeton Fitness and Wellness Center; and the Merwick Care and Rehabilitation Center.
Combined, those entities contribute $1.8 million in payment in lieu of taxes.

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