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A proposal to overhaul tax-exempt law

House Oversight Committee listens to law professor's ideas with an open mind

It was like a skunk at a garden party, and to a large segment of the tax-exempt sector, the testimony at this summer’s congressional hearing had to have been odiferous.

The testimony was that of University of Illinois law professor John D. Colombo. He told the House Oversight Subcommittee it should consider taking away the tax exemptions of most of the biggest charities in the country, including almost all the non-profit hospitals and universities. The congressmen did not reject his suggestion out of hand, nor did his colleagues on the witness panel challenge it. Why? Probably because Congress has finally begun a serious review of tax-exempt law, and it is willing to at least hear from those who think the current system needs a major overhaul. For the moment, at least, everything is on the table.


Bruce D. Collins

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