(AP) Senator Chuck Grassley, Chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, has a plan to raise tax revenue. He is trying to make up for lost federal revenue from President Bush’s signature tax cuts for the wealthy. The need could grow more acute should the latest House vote slashing estate taxes become law.
So Chuck’s solution? Tax pimps, whores, drug dealers, and non profit community hospitals. His idea involves going after groups that don’t currently pay taxes, black market or illegal commerce and charitable organizations that have an unfair advantage over for profit tax paying organizations.
If federal enforcement of any current laws whether they be campaign finance, congressional ethics, or immigration laws, are any indication the pimp/whore section of the IRS will be a complete bust. Don’t Republicans want to get rid of the IRS completely? If so, who goes after the pimping whore revenue?
As for taxing non profit community hospitals, it is similar to taxing churches. Because of the need they meet in society, hospitals have gotten a tax break. In the 1960’s Tommy Frist Sr. wanted to do for hospitals what Holiday Inn had done for hotels. But you can’t be a publicly traded stock company and be non profit. Preferring that organizational structure over the tax free non profit community asset model, HCA was formed. And they have cried the last 15 years over the unfair tax burden they shoulder relative to their not for profit competitors, while ignoring their usually much lighter burden of uncompensated care. Since 2001 Senator Grassley received almost $969,000 in donations from the health care sector, with $232,000 from for profit hospital/nursing home and health services/HMO PACs.
Senator Grassley complains of the money being made by some non profit health care organizations. Ask Saddleback Church about their donations and income. In the non profit world of community health centers, President Bush’s signature strategy for caring for the uninsured the message is “No margin, no mission”. It should not be a surprise that many non profit hospitals make money. If they didn’t have a margin they would go out of business.
So what’s really going on with Chuck? Why is he the for-profit hospital shill on this issue? Does he seriously think taxing pimps and whores will raise enough revenue to make up for the likely drastic drop in estate taxes? Or does he want to look like he is doing something, anything, whatever idea pops into his mind aided by whatever donation just popped in his wallet.
If non profit community hospitals end up paying taxes, I can only say one thing. Watch out churches!
P.S. The AP at the beginning of the post represents the authors initials