• Linda Czipo

    Several important clarifications are in order here.

    First and most important, the bill referenced in the article would provide important relief to charities of all sizes. It would correct a glaring vulnerability in the current law that places ALL non-profit property owners at risk of arbitrary challenges to their property tax exemptions. The reason is that in several procedural rulings in the Princeton University case, the tax court judge held not only that the small group of residents bringing the suit had legal standing to bring the challenge, but also that the university had the burden of re-proving its exemption that had already been granted by the municipality.

    The judge’s actions leaves thousands of non-profit property owners of all sizes – supportive housing organizations, homeless shelters, schools for people with developmental disabilities, shelters for victims of domestic violence, drug treatment centers, mental health facilities or countless others that could be considered unpopular or controversial – vulnerable to arbitrary legal challenges by residents that would be extremely costly and time-consuming to defend, diverting scarce resources away from essential programs and services.

    By limiting the ability of third parties to challenge non-profit property tax exemptions, while preserving the authority of local governments to do so, the bill would help to protect organizations of all sizes from being arbitrarily forced to re-prove their exemptions repeatedly and from needlessly siphoning resources away from charitable purposes.

    Non-profits are straining under the weight of skyrocketing demand for services and resources that have not kept pace with the steadily escalating costs of providing programs and services that our communities need. Clarifying that third parties do not have standing to challenge the property tax exemption of non-profits, while preserving the authority of local governments, would provide needed assurance and protection for non-profit property owners throughout New Jersey while keeping proper channels of accountability and recourse intact.

    For more information, see http://www.njnonprofits.org/PropertyTax_ThirdPartyLegislation.html

    Linda Czipo
    President & CEO
    Center for Non-Profits (NJ)