May 23, 2011; Source: The Republican | Since Boston’s Mayor Tom Menino mailed letters to tax-exempt hospitals and universities asking for “voluntary” payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT), municipalities throughout the state (and elsewhere in New England) have been hitting up tax-exempt property owners for money. The danger is not simply that tax-exempt entities are being taxed, even though the PILOTs are in theory voluntary, but that the definition of potential payers is going to be more than just big institutions with hefty endowments.

The 25 letters sent by the acting town manager of Palmer, Mass., Patricia A. Kennedy, went to Wing Memorial Hospital, but also to Camp Ramah, the Three Rivers Chamber of Commerce, the American Legion, Palmer Ambulance, and the Amvets. “We are looking for sources of revenue. We really should extend our tax base,” Kennedy straightforwardly revealed. “They have no obligation to pay that, but I would hope that in the spirit of good community cooperation they would make some kind of payment because they do use our town servi