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The Boston Globe

Opinion

LAWRENCE HARMON

Cultural institutions need to pay up

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.

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