NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — With our state facing some difficult financial times and a budget deficit over $900 million for next fiscal year, state lawmakers are turning to Yale in search of new revenue. That is cause for concern among the Ivy League school’s leaders.
“New Haven stands out as the one Connecticut city in the last decade that has added jobs, added residents, grown its tax base,” said Yale President Dr. Peter Salovey. “That progress has happened because of our partnership.”
Yale leaders are defending themselves as state lawmakers are considering a bill that would tax some Yale properties, which are currently tax exempt.
“There is really nothing in this that should be threatening to Yale and I’m frankly surprised that they’re reacting so harshly,” said Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney,(D-New Haven).
Senate Bill 414 would tax Yale properties that generate over $6,000 of revenue per year. It would also tax Yale research properties, if a research discovery is eventually spun-off to a commercial company.
“Basically in this new world where we have a significant acceleration of technology transfer, we need to be able to determine in a modern context where academic research ends, where commercial research begins,” Looney said.
Yale said the bill’s passage would discourage investment in science and damage the region’s future economic outlook in bio-science research. Yale also touted its long history of service to the New Haven community. Yale is the city’s largest employer and also supports hundreds of scholarships for city youth.
“Our students and faculty devote time in New Haven schools,” Salovey said. “We invest in neighborhoods. We have helped revitalize downtown shopping districts.”
The bill sits in front of the full Senate, awaiting a vote.