When historians write the story of Pennsylvania state government in the 1990s, there'll be a footnote devoted to the bravery on Rep. Karl Boyes, who's sponsoring a bill to limit the number of organizations that would be exempt from municipal taxes. Good luck to Rep. Boyes on his journey through this political minefield.
The confusion on this issue stems from the Pennsylvania Constitution, which permits the legislature to exempt charitable organizations from paying taxes, but doesn't define what a charitable organization is. For the past 120 years, disputes over what is (or isn't) a charity have been settled by the courts .
The dispute in more than academic because the municipalities claim that every agency is that is exempted from taxes is one more group that won't help defray the cost of services like police protection and the like.