Saturday, August 14, 2010

Might "Charity" End At Home For Tax-Exempts?

Highmark's tone-deaf decision to increase profits 'net charitable revenues' by replacing taxpaying local employees with an "India Delivery Center" might be the tipping point with respect to debate legislation concerning Pennsylvania'a sketchy tax exemptions for powerful, profitable companies such as Highmark and UPMC.

Could this towering exhibition of naked greed, on the wobbly foundation of Melissa Hart's 1997 stacking of the "purely public charities" deck, generate a populist fury strong enough to threaten the molecular bonds of Harrisburg's lobbyist-legislator connection?

This could be a handy campaign issue for a Democratic candidate for governor; it is unfortunate that Pennsylvania won't have a Democrat running for governor until 2014 (at the earliest), but civic-minded state legislators could fill that leadership vacuum among the Commonwealth's Democrats as early as this fall.

UPDATE: Although changing the tax treatment of "charities" with million-dollar executives and billion-dollar reserves would require revision to state statutes, the issue reportedly will be important in at least one candidate's campaign for Allegheny County executive.

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