KGMI News Reporting
By Mike Curtiss
BELLINGHAM, Wash. – Bellingham’s mayor, Kelli Linville is choosing not to sign the law that will end the religious tax exemption for PeaceHealth Saint Joseph’s Medical Center.
The mayor says she’s won’t sign the law, “because of the amount of uncompensated care the hospital provides for our community.”
The ordinance was passed by the Bellingham City Council on June 23, and it’s estimated to cost the hospital more than a million dollars each year starting next year.
The ordinance becomes law with or without the mayor’s signature.
Linville offered a compromise that would have removed the tax exemption for religious health care providers and collected $350,000 in new taxes, while still “recognizing the care the hospital provides.”
She released a statement saying she is “disappointed at the action taken by the majority of the city council.”