Budget impact of the institutional tax exemption


Hosting Rhode Island’s premier universities and hospitals puts Providence on the map – and leaves us in a deep financial hole.


$3.56 billion – 2020 assessed value of Providence tax-exempt real estate owned by nonprofit hospitals and universities.

39.3% – Percent of Providence’s total real estate tax base owned by non-profit institutions and therefore exempt from taxation.

24% – Percent of Boston’s tax base exempted from taxation.

$583 million – Providence’s total municipal expense budget for fiscal year 2024.

$105,000 million – Required annual payment to the underfunded Pension Fund included in the 2024 budget (18% of the total budget). This cost will increase by 5% each year, reaching $140 million by 2040.

$130 million – estimated 2020 property tax liability if real estate owned by Providence’s nine largest nonprofit hospitals and universities was taxed at commercial rates.

$7 million – total 2024 Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOTs) by four Providence nonprofit universities under a new 20-year agreement. Payments will rise annually to reach $11.3 by 2024.

$46 million – Ten-year total of one-time addition payments Brown University will make on condition that the City will turn over specific parcels and streets and will approve specific Brown development projects.

$34 million – Anticipated 2024 state payments to Providence in partial compensation for the taxes lost due to the exemption.


Providence, RI  Fiscal Year 2024 Operating Budget and FY24 Proposed Budget

Joint Memorandum of Understanding between Providence and four colleges, 2023

Supplemental Memorandum of Understanding between Brown and Providence, 2023

Review and Assessment of PILOT, City of Providence, Jan. 14, 2022

Explore two decades of data on Brown’s payments in lieu of taxes, Brown Daily Herald


Jonathan Howard is Co-founder of Cause & Effect, Inc., a consulting company that provides strategic planning facilitation, fund development planning and board strengthening to mission-driven organizations. He is a long- time resident of Providence. His three children all attended Providence Public Schools from kindergarten through high school.