Chris Christie kills bill requiring NJ nonprofit hospitals to pay 'taxes'

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) pocket vetoed legislation Tuesday that would have required the state's nonprofit hospitals to pay a daily rate to support public safety and municipal services, according to NJ.com.

Hospitals would have had to pay $2.50 per bed per day and $250 per satellite emergency facility per day, and the fees would increase 2 percent annually to account for inflation, according to the report.

The legislation was a response to a lawsuit challenging Morristown (N.J.) Medical Center's tax exemption status. The ruling found the 687-bed nonprofit hospital was largely operating as a for-profit entity and the hospital agreed to pay a $15.5 million settlement over the next decade.

The Hospital Community Service Contribution bill was drafted to shield hospitals from similar costly and lengthy lawsuits, while still addressing the need in their host municipalities. However, the lobby group representing the state's municipalities thought the bill let hospitals off too easily, according to the report.

State Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex), one of the bill's lead sponsors, told NJ.com it may have been too similar to a tax increase, which would not have helped Gov. Christie's campaign for the presidency, according to the report.

Sens. Vitale and Robert Singer (R-Ocean) plan to work with Gov. Christie to draft a new bill, according to the report.

 

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