Our Wealthiest Nonprofit Institutions' Role in Boston: Improving Boston's PILOT Program!

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Background:

Beginning in 2012, the City implemented a new Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT), replacing a previous system with fewer guidelines. While the program increased revenues relative to its predecessor, PILOT’s future as a revenue stream is shaky and declining in efficacy.  

In 2018 the program collected only 64% of PILOT cash requested, down from 90% in 2012, with a total of over $77 million left uncollected since 2012. The “Big 4” universities (BC, BU, Harvard and Northeastern) are unfortunate leaders in “overdue” balances, with a combined $46.7 million left unpaid since 2012.

$275 million of in-kind contributions were credited as Boston community benefits. However, these “benefits” may not be meeting our neighborhoods’ most pressing needs. There is little oversight and transparency in reporting and little vetting that genuine community benefits are being provided.

In a rapidly growing city with expanding economic development and population growth, we seek to work with the City of Boston to fulfill the bold vision of “Imagine Boston 2030”, one that envisions a Boston for all, with equally expanding opportunities for education, housing, healthcare and economic mobility. We believe our wealthiest nonprofit neighbors should be partners in this vision. Read more at pilotaction.weebly.com.

What We Are Asking:

The PILOT Action Group is a coalition of community, faith, student and labor groups who came together to address concerns around the role of our wealthy nonprofit neighbors in the future of our city.

We the undersigned petition our Mayor Martin J. Walsh and City Councilors to commit to:  

  • Demanding that our largest and wealthiest nonprofit institutions pay their full Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) cash contributions and make plans to submit their overdue payments ($46.7 million from just Northeastern, BU, BC and Harvard).
  • Investing additional revenue from universities’ PILOT payments into programs that directly address social determinants of health (Education, Housing, Income inequality and Healthcare access).
  • Creating a citizen stakeholder PILOT Commission to oversee the PILOT program.
  • Providing full transparency by posting on the City’s website dollar values and descriptions of all community benefit contributions that are credited to the PILOT program.
  • Undertaking a full revaluation of assessed nonprofit property values to reflect market changes over the last ten years.


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