Boston’s leading arts and cultural institutions elevate spirits, but they lack appreciation for the high cost of providing police, fire, and road services to their patrons and employees. The city’s tax-exempt colleges and hospitals, for the most part, take a more enlightened approach when it comes to making voluntary payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOTs, to offset the costs of city services.
A new report from the nonprofit Boston Municipal Research Bureau shows that the 48 largest, private tax-exempt institutions in the city — ranging from Massachusetts General Hospital to Boston College High School — contributed nearly $20 million to the the city’s coffers in so-called PILOT payments in 2012. Hospitals and colleges complied admirably with the city’s requests, 96 percent and 88 percent respectively. The cultural institutions posted a pathetic 39 percent compliance rate.