Museum of Fine Arts director Malcolm Rogers has stepped up the rhetoric in his battle against the City of Boston’s decision to raise “voluntary’’ payments to the city, which are paid in lieu of taxes (from which nonprofits are exempt). Writing in The Art Newspaper, in an opinion column titled “Don’t kill the goose,’’ Rogers sounded a warning for museums across the country: “When civic leaders look to cultural organizations as a source of revenue, rather than as an invaluable resource for the communities they serve, it has dire implications nationwide.’’
The payments requested from the MFA have just been raised from $55,000 in 2010-11 to $250,000 in 2011-12 and will be $1,025,000 in four years. The $17,000 that the Institute of Contemporary Art is now being asked to pay will likewise rise, to $86,000 by 2016. The increases are the result of Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s revised Payment in Lieu of Taxes plan, known as PILOT. It affects nonprofits such as universities, medical centers, and museums owning property worth more than $15 million. It asks the MFA to pay a contribution based on 25 percent of what it would pay under the city’s commercial tax, less a 50 percent community service credit.