Efficiency and Benevolence: Philantropic Tax Exemption in 19th Century America

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Property Tax Exemption For Charities: Mapping the Battlefield


If "all politics is local," then no tax issue is more political than the property tax. This explains the battles that are being fought countrywide over the exemption enjoyed by nonprofit organizations. Property taxes fall on local populations, while the benefits of a charity's activities can be spread more broadly. And as property-owning charities such as hospitals, universities, and cultural institutions have transformed themselves into big businesses, the exemption has come to be viewed as a subsidy granted by government. Recently, opposition from revenue-starved local governments has mounted, in the form of frontal attacks on the charity exemption and demands for payments in lieu of taxes. This collection of essays seeks to put the debate in larger context. The editors have brought together authors from a range of disciplines to explore what we know about the property tax exemption. They offer a variety of perspectives--legal, economic, political, historical, and municipal-administration--on this very contentious issue.



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The Urban Institute

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