Yale Officials, Business Leaders Speak Out Against State Bill to Tax More University Property

More taxation of Yale University property would harm the state’s economy, Yale officials said Wednesday at a press conference urging state lawmakers to not pass S.B. 414.

The bill, according to Yale Officials, would tax any building producing more than $6,000 in revenue in a year.

“S.B. 414 will discourage investment in CT, its bad policy and I believe it’s bad for New Haven’s future,” Yale University President Peter Salovey said in an address stressing how the Ivy League school is central to the Elm City’s economy.

Yale is already paying the city $4.5 million in taxes for commercial properties, like the row of shops on Broadway. Salovey said the university also pays more than $8 million to New Haven each year in voluntary payments.

“There is no other state in the country that attempts to tax research laboratory buildings on academic campuses,” Yale Vice President for New Haven and State Affairs Bruce Alexander told NBC Connecticut.

Yale officials and business leaders said they fear if passed, the bill would stunt the growth of industries like bio-science and discourage research that produces start-up companies and creates private sector jobs.

“They’re going to pop up in Boston, Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley, that’s where you’ll find the companies that could have, should have been in New Haven,” said Timothy Shannon of Canaan Partners.

Lawmakers in support of the bill said it will help close the state’s budget deficit. They also argue the existing law needs to be updated.

“The exemption that Yale has was created in a context when technology transfer of academic research was not even contemplated,” State Senate President Martin Looney told the Associated Press. “What we are looking to do is make sure that Yale is operating under the same standards the institutions such as Stanford and MIT operate under in their states.”

Anthony Rescigno, president of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce, said this tax unfairly targets Yale.

“There’s no reason in the world that they should be beating up frankly on one institution that has been there friend,” Rescigno said, “what do they do to their enemies?”

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp is backing an amended version of this bill, which exempts Yale’s athletic and entertainment venues, like Ingalls Ice Rink and Woolsey Hall.

The state legislature recently dropped a bill that aimed at taxing Yale’s $25.6 billion endowment.

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