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Mayor Gainey issues executive order to review all tax-exempt property owned by charities

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CBS News Pittsburgh

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pittsburgh city leaders will review all tax-exempt properties to determine if they pass a test or need to pay up.

Mayor Ed Gainey signed an executive order Tuesday, allowing the Finance and Law Departments to start looking into charitable organizations.

City leaders said the biggest concern is one-third of the City of Pittsburgh property is exempt, and the city loses millions of dollars.

Now, non-profit organizations must pass the Pennsylvania Purely Public Charity test.

Mayor Ed Gainey said, among the requirements, the organization must advance a charitable purpose, operate entirely free from a private profit motive, and donate a substantial part of its services.

Mayor Gainey said this does not include religious institutions. However, this could impact certain health systems, universities, and other organizations.

“If you fail to meet our standards, then we will make sure you are paying your fair share to our city. Right now, we estimate that charitable organizations in our city would owe $36 million in property tax if they fail to meet the Pa. Purely Public Charity test,” Gainey said.

“The City of Pittsburgh is facing a revenue shortfall. Especially once the ARPA funds run out in a couple of years. At that point, we need to make sure we have enough revenue to pay for our police officers, our bridges, and our snow plows,” Chief Legal Officer and City Solicitor Krysia Kubiak said.

Kubiak said this will be a long process and no one should expect a bill any time soon. She said they’ll start reviewing the largest properties to figure out who is a purely public charity.

City leaders are also asking for the public’s help.

If you know an organization that doesn’t meet the requirements, email¬†report@pittsburghpa.gov.

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