Newark Councilwoman Opposes Senate Bill Requiring Hospitals to Pay Community Service Contributions


Newark Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins today said she opposed a Senate bill that would require hospitals to pay a “community service contribution” on that grounds that it would shortchange Newark.

Chaneyfield Jenkins praised the bill’s sponsor, Sen. President Stephen M. Sweeney, for proposing the legislative fix, but said the bill in its current form does not provide enough tax relief to communities like Newark.

“I want to commend Senate President Sweeney for taking the lead on this issue of great importance to cities like Newark that have so-called non-profit hospitals in their community, which have not been paying their fair share of property taxes,” Chaneyfield Jenkins said. “I recognize this is a complex issue, but the legislative solution in its current form only benefits the hospitals and doesn’t provide the fiscal benefits that cities like Newark should receive.”

Sign Up for E-News

The legislation, S-3299, was proposed in response to tax court decision over the summer that found that Morristown Medical Center was not entitled to its property-tax exemption because its operations were little different from those of a for-profit company. That hospital has since agreed to pay $15.5 million over 10 years.

“The Morristown case clearly showed that non profit hospitals have not been paying their fair share of property taxes to their host communities,” Chaneyfield Jenkins said. “If we look, I'm sure we are going to find just like they did in Morristown that there are many aspects of our nonprofit hospitals that should not be tax exempt."

The legislation allows non-profit hospitals to continue their property tax-exemption, but calls for them to pay their host municipality a “community service contribution” of $2.50 per day per licensed bed. The New Jersey Hospital Association, the lobbyists for hospitals in the state, supports the measure.

A fiscal statement released on Dec. 24 by the state Office of Legislative Services estimated that hospitals throughout the state would pay about $20.1 million annually in host fees to communities throughout the state in the first year.

While OLS did not calculate figures for each municipality, Chaneyfield Jenkins said based on the formula, Newark would receive approximately $516,000 from Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, which is licensed for 596 beds and $310,000 from Saint Michael’s Medical Center, which is licensed for 358 beds.

Saint Michael’s is awaiting state approval to be purchased by Prime Healthcare Services, a for-profit company. If the sale is approved, Saint Michael’s would lose its tax-exempt status and be required to pay property taxes on the full assessment of the hospital, which would likely be higher that its community service contribution.

Newark’s other hospital, University Hospital, is state owned and exempt from the fees under the legislation.

Chaneyfield Jenkins has proposed a task force to review how much nonprofit hospitals would pay if their for-profit activities were to be assessed for the purposes of paying property taxes. Chaneyfield Jenkins is awaiting the legislative outcome before continuing with her proposal.

Chaneyfield Jenkins noted that 77 percent of the properties in Newark are tax exempt, which adds to the property tax burden of the city’s residents.

“My job on the City Council is to look out for the taxpayers,” Chaneyfield Jenkins said. “I cannot in good conscience sit back and not speak out about a bill that is not a good deal for the taxpayers of this city.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Those Boarded-Up Homes in the West Ward? Newark Has a Plan for Them.

July 19, 2018

Newark, NJ - The city is using the power of eminent domain to reduce the number of condemned homes and vacant lots scattered throughout the West Ward.

The redevelopment plan for the West Ward was introduced in 2016 and encompasses properties from the border of Irvington to South 13th Street between South Orange Avenue and 16th Avenue. One of the main goals of the plan is to support new ...

Mothers Mobilize in Newark to Protest Trump Family Separation Policy

June 22, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - A group of New Jersey mothers took time to come to Newark with the kind of loved ones recently taken from other mothers: their children.

"It's unconscionable that our government is stealing children from their parents and locking them up in cages," said Christina Liu, a Montclair mom holding her baby daughter, commenting on President Donald Trump's recent ...

Market Street Patrol Building May Be Named After Late Undersheriff

June 28, 2018

NEWARK, NJ — The death of Essex County Undersheriff Kevin Ryan on June 20 was a "devastating loss" for the department and for the county’s sheriff, Armando Fontoura.

“He was like a son to me. He was always the first one on the scene. He was always there to help. It’s just devastating. There is not much more I can say," Fontoura said in a ...

Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey Opens Camp DeWitt Conference Center and Activity Building

July 2, 2018

HILLSBOROUGH, N.J. – If you don’t know by now, Girl Scouts is much more than cookies, crafts, and summer camp.

In fact, the Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey say they should host your next professional business conference, special event, or any other big celebration in which you are looking to seriously impress.

Look no further than Camp DeWitt in Hillsborough, the site of ...

Upcoming Events


Fri, July 27, 10:00 AM

Lincoln Park, Newark

Lincoln Park Music Festival Sustainable Health ...


Thu, August 16, 5:00 PM

Branch Brook Park, Newark

Movies Under the Stars

To Our Current and Future Representatives

July 17, 2018

To Our Current and Future Representatives - Wherever They May Be:

We can never forget we are a nation of immigrants. 

We cannot fall prey to fear, ignorance and anger when we  have been historically driven by freedom and justice. 

We must have the courage and will to fight hate, bigotry and prejudice. 

We must not wake up to what we hoped was a bad dream and ...

A Statewide Solution on Disposable Bags Aids the Fight Against Litter

June 29, 2018

The New Jersey Clean Communities Council (NJCCC) just released the results of a year-long visual litter study that shows that nearly 10 percent of all litter on our roadways and highways is in the form of plastic and paper bags.

There is no doubt that these bags are of significant and ongoing environmental concern, creating an even more difficult job for our clean communities volunteers across ...