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Quinn signs bill to refund $8.4M hospital money

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013 11:03 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013 11:03 p.m. CDT

EAST ALTON – Property owners in southwestern Illinois will get back roughly $8.4 million related to a now-defunct hospital under legislation signed Wednesday by Gov. Pat Quinn.

The Wood River Township Hospital closed in 2000 and after paying pension benefits and debt obligations, about $8.4 million was left in the hospital’s fund. There were was no opposition when House lawmakers approved the bill last week, and it cleared the Senate by a wide margin.

The new law, which takes effect immediately, will refund the money based on property value. Supporters said they had several options for what to do with the money and giving it back to property taxpayers seemed the most fair and popular.

“Most of the time taxpayers understand that money comes out of their pocket but this time it’s coming back to their pocket,” Quinn said at the bill signing.

The hospital board has estimated that a person with a $100,000 home will receive a refund of about $450. The returns will be based on assessed values in 2005, the last year the hospital taxed. It will go to taxpayers in the hospital’s taxing district in Madison County. The hospital is located roughly 20 miles from St. Louis.

“This law gives clarity and makes sure outstanding debts are paid, patient records are transferred properly and surplus funds are returned to taxpayers,” state Rep. Daniel Beiser, an Alton Democrat who was a bill sponsor, said in a statement.

The law dissolves the hospital as a legal entity and allows the board to sell remaining property.

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The bill is SB496.

Online: www.ilga.gov

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