Sometimes all it takes is a cute turn of a word and people believe. Remember the “Death Tax” or the “Contract with America” or the “Patriot Act”- we’ve heard them all.
Now, and props go to whoever conjured up this latest phrase, we hear “Oh don’t worry, we’ve got Eds, Meds and Feds here in Dayton” – we don’t need no stinkin manufacturing or tech jobs.
But, last I checked, none of those three pay property taxes. Not a dime. Exempt.
Now, I understand why the Feds don’t. They have a city unto themselves. We can’t get in without good reason or a golden ticket. They have their own police, fire, road crews etc. They also employ a lot of people, some of whom don’t get a choice of where they get to go.
Higher education- is a true non-profit. They make our social capital grow. They bring in good jobs, and they prepare people for good jobs. OK, no problem.
Hospitals though, well there I have a problem. The “Non-profit” status they enjoy seems to be getting abused. All of a sudden hospitals are buying up tons of land, taking it off the tax rolls, and not doing anything with it. Or, they are growing like weeds- and into things that have very little to do with providing health care. And, by the way- that health care keeps getting more and more expensive for the rest of us- while they keep paying their executives more and more. While they say they provide an essential public service in ministering to the uninsured, I’m not sure $435 per stitch is going to cut it anymore.
In fact, I’d place a bet if we started charging hospitals property tax, we could afford to hire our own hospital staff and provide universal care to residents for less. And, considering that police and fire provide essential public services, maybe they shouldn’t have to pay for health care- the hospitals should pick up the tab as part of their civic duty?
Nope, Eds, Meds and Feds sounds great- until you realize that without the other businesses paying property taxes, we’ll be struggling for a while, until we work on streamlining our hodge-podge of governments into one simple, efficient system that manages the region.
Then, we might even start looking attractive to other employers. Hmmmm….