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GlaxoSmithKline: We're entitled to a fair assessment of our property

The pharmaceutical firm is embroiled in a dispute with the Spring-Ford Area School District over the valuation of its Upper Providence campus. The district may have to refund $5.5M in back taxes to the company.

GlaxoSmithKline, which is embroiled in a dispute with the Spring-Ford Area School District over the valuation of its Upper Providence campus, said today that it remains committed to the area and blamed the school district for "delays" that have .

The school district may have to refund the company about $5.5 million in back taxes dating to 2008 if the company's property is reassessed from its current book value of $200 million to the company's estimate of $45 million. The school district believes the property is now worth about $95 million, but reported last week that it had proposed a valuation of about $75 million to the company.

District solicitor Marc Davis said the company had "rejected that [offer] out of hand."

"We believe that just as an individual is entitled to an assessment of the fair market value of their property, so is GlaxoSmithKline," said Sarah Alspach, director of U.S. corporate media relations for the company.

Alspach said the district has been aware of the tax assessment issue since October 2007 but had not delivered its report on the assessment until December 2010.

"Despite numerous attempts to settle [the matter], the district has persisted in delays," Alspach said.

Because of those delays, Alspach said, the amount of back taxes to which the company will be entitled in a reassessment has continued to grow.

"[GlaxoSmithKline] is always willing to discuss the issue with the school district," Alspach said.

District officials and school board members were preparing for this evening's school board meeting and were not immediately available for comment on the company's remarks.

Alspach said GlaxoSmithKline has about 4,000 employees in the region, "many of whom live in Montgomery County."

School board president Joseph Ciresi to Philadelphia youth programs, drawing a comparison between the company's gift and the money the district would have to refund to the company.

Alspach cited company outreach efforts, including its "Science in the Summer" classes and its "IMPACT Awards", as evidence of its community involvement and its support for education.

"We're excited about what we're able to do in Philadelphia, but want the community to be aware that our commitment extends to the whole region," Alspach said.

Tom Thunstrom March 29, 2011 at 09:15 AM
I'm really interested in hearing the district (or board's) .02 on Glaxo's assertion there were delays in the process. Seems like there are going to be a lot of budgetary hammers dropping locally, not just in SF...gonna be ugly for a while...
pruckels April 05, 2011 at 05:17 PM
There is no way that their assessed property value is currently 25% of its earlier assessed value. Even from real estate peak, property values have actually decreased very slightly...where they are coming up with these fantsy numbers are anyone's guess, but to me, they sure don't pass the sniff test. Taxes aren't based upon "hey, this is what I feel like I should pay" -- if it was, nobody would pay taxes. Taxes are based upon paying your fair share for your impact upon the area where you live. This includes paying for road improvements due to increased traffic, helping to pay for the schools that their employees' children use, paying to maintain a police and fire protection presence, etc. Moreover, GSK is benefiting from being in an area that has been able to attract the highly skilled workers that they need in order to be able to run their business...many of those highly skilled workers are products of the very same educational programs that their reassessment is going to seriously impact.

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