Talk:MacDowell Colony

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Tax status treatment[edit]

In my view the section 'Tax status' goes much too far beyond necessary information. It narrates a series of court actions in a way that needlessly obstructs access to the information overview. I therefore give notice that I will heavily prune the section, subject to any valid comment to the contrary. Cheers, Bjenks (talk) 04:06, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

I don't think it needs much trimming - it's only a five-paragraph description of the case, pretty well written. I wouldn't remove anything that's there, frankly, although you're right that the section needs an introductory sentence or two letting people know that the courts rejected the town's attempt to tax the colony because the court agreed that it's a charitable organization. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 13:34, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
'Only five paragraphs' being as long as the whole History section above! But, OK, if its 2005 tax status really is the most notable feature of this group, it should certainly remain in some detail—but needs to be phrased in a way that clearly communicates the issue and its principles without trivial details like the newspaper-style narrative, judge's name, etc, etc. The cited 13-page provisional court opinion is available for any reader who wants to pursue the fine details. Cheers, Bjenks (talk) 01:20, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
Sounds like you want to write more in the history section, not less in the tax-status section! - DavidWBrooks (talk) 01:30, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
Not me, sir! Cheers, Bjenks (talk) 02:21, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, my silly flip comment was supposed to convey the idea that if there's an imbalance between sections in an article, the best way to balance it is usually - not always, of course (e.g., trivia lists or enormous plot summaries) - to expand a section rather than trim one. If expansion can't be done because of editors' time/knowledge (I don't know enough to do it in this case), then it's usually better to leave the imbalance than to remove material. Improving material is, of course, always welcome.- DavidWBrooks (talk) 11:52, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

OK, here's my suggested replacement, for consideration:

Land-tax exemption dispute[edit]

The colony, a non-profit organization, enjoys the status of a charity, entitling it, inter alia, to exemption from Hew Hampshire state property tax. However, In 2005, the town of Peterborough's selectmen (local-government executives) decided to challenge MacDowell's charitable status and billed the colony for a "payment in lieu of taxes". A lawyer for the town argued that "the colony certainly benefits its artists-in-residence, but that doesn't strike us as being the general public."[1]

The colony's board of directors paid the bill, then successfully challenged the impost. A 2007 Superior Court opinion found that the MacDowell Colony, by promoting the arts, was a charitable institution, a ruling that was upheld by the Supreme Court in a subsequent appeal. [2]{rp|p13}} The appeal court found that "Contrary to the Town's assertions, MacDowell's articles of incorporation oblige it to use its property for its stated charitable purpose. [2]:p11

  1. ^ Winkleman E. Local Government: McDowell Not Advancing Spiritual or Intellectual Well-Being of General Public November 12, 2005
  2. ^ a b "Town of Peterborough v. The MacDowell Colony, Inc." (PDF). The Supreme Court of New Hampshire. 2008-03-14. Retrieved 2008-03-17. 
Hey, that looks great. My only quibbles are that the "inter alia" seems unnecessary, since it will confuse most readers, and the word "impost" in the second paragraph seems overkill, I would think "charge" or "payment" would also be less likely to stump readers. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 15:55, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
Oops, I missed the "state income tax" error, which has been fixed in the article by another editor. (There isn't one in NH)- DavidWBrooks (talk) 20:42, 20 April 2011 (UTC)