Taxes

Why Yale Should Move to Boston

Perhaps even a threat by Yale to move would force Connecticut to rethink its endowment tax plan.

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amelungc/Flickr

Maybe Yale should move. 

That's the reaction of at least one Yale graduate, the Cato Institute's Walter Olson, to the news that the Connecticut state legislature is reportedly considering imposing a new tax on endowment income of universities with endowments larger than $10 billion. As proposed, the tax would apply to precisely one institution, the Ivy League college now situated in New Haven.

If Yale were to react by picking itself up and moving to somewhere more hospitable, it certainly wouldn't be the first Nutmeg State employer to do so. GE recently announced that it is moving its headquarters to Boston, Massachusetts, after Hartford lawmakers raised the company's taxes five times in five years.

Relocating an entire university—with students, professors, graduate schools, a library, an art museum, a teaching hospital, a football stadium, and even a forest—is more complicated than simply moving a corporate office that employs about 800, which is what GE is doing. But it's not impossible, either, or even entirely unprecedented. Yale already moved once before, back in 1716, when its trustees voted to leave Saybrook for nearby New Haven.

If Yale were to follow GE to Boston, there would certainly be some advantages. The annual road trip for the Harvard-Yale football game would be dramatically shortened. Harvard's introductory computer science class, CS50, is already the most popular course at Yale, as taught by a video link from a Harvard lecture hall. If Yale were in Boston, Yale students could attend the Harvard class in person rather than electronically.

Yale students in Boston could attend Red Sox games at Fenway Park or watch major league hockey (Bruins) or basketball (Celtics). No major league sports team calls New Haven home; the entire state of Connecticut hasn't had a big league pro team since the Hartford Whalers decamped to North Carolina in 1997.

International students at Yale will have an easier time getting back and forth from home via Boston's Logan International Airport, which offers nonstop service to nearly 50 international destinations, than from Connecticut's Bradley International Airport, which offers nonstop flights abroad only to Montreal and Toronto.

Even the star Yale professors will be able to pay lower taxes if the university moves (though their housing costs might increase); Connecticut's top individual marginal income tax rate is 6.99 percent, while Massachusetts applies a more modest, and flat, 5.1 percent rate to individual income.

Perhaps even a threat by Yale to move would force Connecticut to rethink its endowment tax plan.

The tendency to see college and university endowments as inviting targets for taxation is a bipartisan one. Connecticut's legislature and governor's office are controlled by Democrats. But a couple of years ago, Republicans in the Congress introduced a plan to impose an excise tax on private universities with endowments of at least $100,000 for each full-time student. If a college wanted to avoid that one, it would have to move out of the country, rather than just across a state line.

If nothing else, the prospect of having a portion of its endowment income seized to subsidize the operations of state government—including competing public colleges, like the University of Connecticut—may be an educational moment for Yale to rival anything that is taught in the university's economics department or school of management.

It's a lesson in the risks of redistribution, in the power of incentives, in the price-tag of big government, and in the competition between states that is part of the genius of federalism.

It also teaches something about taxation without representation, and about the consent of the governed, when all the non-Yale colleges and non-New Haven towns gang up to impose a tax on Yale's endowment to pay for their own services. It's not too different from when the state raises individual income tax rates to soak a few Greenwich hedge fund managers and stick them with the bill for more of the state's operating costs.

GE's new Boston headquarters will be a stone's throw from the Boston Tea Party museum, two replica ships that sit on a harbor wharf as a reminder of where the great American Revolution against unjust taxation began. If Yale were to move nearby, there would be a certain symbolic resonance to the whole thing. Maybe the Connecticut politicians could stop in on a side trip and learn something about the Boston Tea Party when they visit for their next Yale reunion.

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  1. It would be HIGH larious if that drove Yale to Taxachusetts.

  2. They should move to Somalia and become the first libertarian universtiy

    1. But how will people get there without roads?

      1. Huh? But they’re all socialists down there!

        1. In true libertarian fashion, they’re also evil cultural appropriators.

          “Mises’ birthday ? Ludwig von Mises was born on September 29. 1881; and to remember his birthday, professor Joseph Keckeissen’s students celebrate a Viennese party by the second semester of every year. It includes theatrical presentations, singing and dancing. Joseph Keckeissen attended Mises? Seminar in New York City and he began the misian theatrical tradition, at UFM in the 1980s with the Guttenberg Society.”

          Surely this is a microagression against any Austrian students.

          1. You know better than that. Austrians are assumed to be white and Christian, and therefore, cannot be microaggressed against.

            1. Austrians are assumed to be white and Christian, and therefore, cannot must be microaggressed against.

  3. Yale already moved once before, back in 1716, when its trustees voted to leave Saybrook for nearby New Haven.

    Am I jumping to conclusions when I imagine Yale looked a lot different back then?

    1. It’s the exact same thing.

    1. I dunno, in this environment where smaller-government ideals seem to be not only be losing the battle, but are getting paraded through the streets so people can pelt them with tomatoes and cabbages, the idea that a state Government would turn its eye to yet another member of the 1%– universities with phat endowments — seems to barely rate a blip on the radar.

    2. I’m trying to move beyond my innate lack of empathy for any party who might be harmed by this to the principle, and having a difficult time. Would it be acceptable to tax the endowment the exact amount of funding the university received from the Feds as grants?

  4. Do Yale professors have admitting privileges to other nearby university hospitals?

    If so, can I get an abortion from a rich WASP?

    1. At taxpayer expense, natch.

      1. No, your kind have to go to county with all of the medicaid patents and gunshot victims.

  5. You have in no way convinced me that sitting on a $32B endowment is what the donors want or good in any sense for the university. But I agree that the solution is not for the government to come and take the money.

    1. Without taking a position on the “goose-gander” aspect of taxing the endowment…

      “Sitting” on the endowment is absolutely what the donors want (or wanted; most of them are dead). First of all, “the endowment” is not one monolithic sum. It is divided up into many buckets, based upon who donated and what they donated for. The interest income is not fungible. If somebody donated $10 million to be spent on books for the library, then that is what the university must use the income for.

      Honestly, it’s not really up to Yale (and certainly not up to the state of Connecticut) to decide the “best” use of the endowment. These are trusts, and the people who gave their capital to establish them decided what the best uses were.

      1. Any charitable fund which isn’t spending at least 10% of its previous year’s capital is sitting on money.

        1. It’s not a charity, it’s an investment.

          If they’re not making 10% every year–and who the fuck is?–then spending 10% every year is a sure way to make 10% = $0.

          1. Its not like they aren’t generating new alumni to give money. And it is a charitable cause. People use it thus for estate planning all the time.

  6. Why Yale Should Move to Boston
    Perhaps even a threat by Yale to move would force Connecticut to rethink its endowment tax plan.

    1. Perhaps now all those socialist turds at an Ivy League university will finally understand why the redistribution of wealth (their wealth) is not a good idea.

    2. I can hardly wait until the Yale administrators, who are socialist to the core, find out that taking their money hurts.

    3. Listening to collectivists whine about high taxes or “unfair” taxes is more beautiful music than anything Mozart, or any other master of music could ever produce.

    1. They should move to Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, et. al. if they want low tax.

      1. I am pretty sure those states are smart enough not to want them.

      2. Make it Wyoming.

        They are about the lowest of the low tax states plus they’ve got plenty of wide open spaces to relocate the campus.

    2. But … but … it’s different for them!

  7. So reason is now defending the tax exempt status of mega rich universities? It would be one thing if Yale were paying taxes and Connecticut just wanted more. But Yale pays no taxes on this endowment. How is Yale any different than some sports team getting a stadium built and having it exempt from property taxes? Reason never likes that very much. Reason sure as hell wouldn’t be complaining if some state wanted to revoke a sweatheart deal it made with a sports franchise. Why are they complaining about this?

    Fuck Yale. I hope the state loots the place like Henry VIII looted the monasteries.

    1. “But Yale pays no taxes on this endowment.”

      Neither does any other University.

      Either tax them all equally or equally tax none of them.

      1. We don’t tax individuals equally. Low income people often pay no taxes. So we can just tax really rich universities like Yale.

        1. “We don’t tax individuals equally.”

          And there is nothing fair about that either.

      2. Either tax them all equally or equally tax none of them.

        Tax all corporate entities equally based on their *assets*.

    2. So Reason is now defending the tax exempt status of mega rich universities?

      You obviously don’t understand taxation. A tax is the shake down Tax Ranchers make of the Tax Cattle.

      We are the tax cattle.

      The Tax ranchers control university endowments. You don’t tax them.

      Why are they complaining about this?

      Progressitarians. The Elite are Free to Rule, and the Peasants are Free to Take it and Like it.

  8. Why doesn’t Yale move to Nevada? No income taxes and low cost of living.

    1. They could put casinos in the residence halls. Think of the money making opportunities a relocation to Nevada would bring.

    2. Move to Florida. At least the southern part. Still no income tax, nice weather. Just kick out the students from Ohio so we avoid more Florida Man stories.

  9. It’s not extortion when the government does it.

    1. Apparently, Yale hasn’t been doing enough [cough] lobbying [cough].

  10. If cities are willing to build football stadiums in order to lure NFL teams, I’m sure there are several cities out there that would build facilities in order to lure Yale.

    1. Sure. And the price of that would also be letting Yale keep its tax exemption. If it is wrong to give an NFL team a tax exemption, why is it okay to give Yale one?

  11. I would like more information on this topic. *Googles well-endowed Ivy*

      1. If Yale is worried about paying taxes, maybe it should embrace small government and start feeling the Johnson.

        1. I think they just felt the tip of the Johnson press against their anis in a very non-consensual way.

  12. “You know what’s in fucking Connecricut? All you rich people with your fucking lyme disease and your woods and your fucking dark secrets you don’t want anyone to know!”

    –Andrew Dice Clay’s character on Vinyl right before he gets beat to death. Weird show. I haven’t decided whether to like it or not.
    So far, to the good: Smoking hot naked chocks, good soundtrack
    To the bad: Very uneven story, none of the characters are likeable.

    1. Exactly when did you know you were attracted to airport ground equipment?

      1. At least he isn’t into sexual props yet….. yet.

      2. I like the ones we use to keep welding machines from rolling away at work.

  13. Do they have the Mayflower moving vans ready to move in the middle of the night?

    1. They better. A last minute 22 billion exit tax sounds likely.

    2. #readytoirsay

  14. Someone needs to call an emergency Skull and Bones meeting, asap.

    1. They clearly are lacking the leadership that one Joshua Jackson could have provided.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLpIARbS5Xo

  15. Just how fucking bad does it have to be in Connecticut that you would actually say to yourself, “Self, you know what makes much more economic sense? Relocating to Massachusetts.”

  16. As proposed, the tax would apply to precisely one institution

    Isn’t this just a slam dunk lawsuit then?

    Because isn’t there a constitutional (or administrative) bar on legislation intended to affect specific entities rather than general ones?

    from my limited memory, there’s a standard in law that prevents legislators from crafting legislation obviously intended to affect single-entities. the fact that they set this arbitrary $ size threshold was clearly intended to affect only Yale. as such it would seem to me they could get the thing thrown out. unless this is a state-by-state thing? someone clear this up for me.

    1. I believe the term in constitutional law is “bill of attainder”. Unfortunately, the courts have ruled in the past that, so long as you don’t identify the specific person/entity the law will apply to in the law itself, a law that applies to just one person/entity is OK. So, if any other college in Connecticut had an endowment in excess of $10 billion, this law would apply to them. The fact that none do is just a coincidence (wink wink).

      1. In that case, maybe Yale should drop 22+ Billion on a new satellite campus. Maybe ON a satellite! (Think 2001)

      2. so long as you don’t identify the specific person/entity the law will apply to in the law itself

        But *they do* by their very limitation of the applicability of the law to “those over $10bn”.

        At the time they wrote the law there was only one institution which met that definition. They knew exactly who they were crafting the law for. Someone could slip past this if the terms of the law could theoretically have applied to others but then later do not when it passes, but i sincerely doubt in this case that would present any problem for a lawyer to point out that the object of the law was simply to seize Yale’s funds sans any due process.

  17. NYPD officer goes to woman’s apartment (because it was near another apartment where something was going on), shoots her dog, hands her a $265 bill for burial fees

    The gruesome video of an NYPD cop killing a dog, whose tail was obviously wagging in front of its apartment is going viral.

    Yvonne Rosado was dancing with her dog, Spike, when she heard something outside her New York apartment.

    And opened the door.

    When she looked past the threshold, her dog walked out wagging its tail onto the landing.

    That, made NYPD officer Ruben Cuesta ‘fear for his life.’

    So, he shot Spike right in the head.

    Deliberately.

    When he looked up at officer Cuesta, the last thing the dog saw was the flash of the barrel of the gun that shot him.

    Police still aren’t offering a reason as to why Cuesta shot Spike on February 13th nor have they offered an apology.

    They also left Rosado with the $265 cremation bill.

    Bonus WTF buried in the article:

    She told New York Daily News that NYPD killed her cat pet cat sometime around 2010 when they broke its neck during a search at another apartment that wasn’t hers.

    1. Wait, this isnt the lynx, Dammit!

    2. officer Ruben Cuesta, pant shitter.

    3. Police still aren’t offering a reason as to why Cuesta shot Spike on February 13th nor have they offered an apology.

      BFYTW.

      That’s *always* the reason.

  18. There’s some parcels of urban prairie in some cities like Detroit. It might be perfect for Yale. 😉

  19. New Hampshire would make a lot more sense than Boston, both for cheaper land acquisition and for lingering anti-tax sentiment (though the Masshole Migration dooms them to being Vermont 2.0, and the Free Staters can’t stop that).

    1. Vermont has been undermined by New Yorkers. A lot of the Massholes who move to NH actually come for the lower taxes, so that probably helps. I have never seen a good demographic study, but NH’s recent shift to a blue state seems to me to have more to do with disgust at the GOPs evangelical and neo-con wings than a desire to build a Massachusetts 2.0.

  20. “Perhaps even a threat by Yale to move would force Connecticut to rethink its endowment tax plan.”

    Not a chance in hell. They will not ever rethink their own right thinking on taxing the rich to support everyone else, perish the thought. This is the same state that assisted in driving Stanley Tools to Mexico by continuously increasing their moral burden to the point where they could no long operate within CT. Then guess what???, those evil bastards moved. How dare they, oh well, we’ll just have to raise taxes on everyone who stayed instead.

  21. But a couple of years ago, Republicans in the Congress introduced a plan to impose an excise tax on private universities with endowments of at least $100,000 for each full-time student. If a college wanted to avoid that one, it would have to move out of the country, rather than just across a state line.

    Awesome!

    I don’t see why some organizations should be immune from taxation. Extend it to all corporate entities, taxing based on a percentage of assets.

    1. Assets and income are not the same thing.

  22. Mass of two shits.

  23. Why not move to some nice place instead? Like Montana?

  24. Normally, Boston only hangs witches and quakers, but Yalies would be a tempting exception.

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  27. The university does not have to move, just the endowment. It is not like it has to be in the same state as the college, and I am pretty sure it is a seperate legal entity. If it is not seperate, it would be pretty easy to make it so. And whether Mass or NY, or any other state, there are 49 of them not talking about raiding endowments who would still give them nonprofit treatment.

  28. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.
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  29. “Why Yale Should Move to Boston”

    No we have way toooooo many fucktard liberals here already. Send them to Commie-fornia please.

    1. you can never have toooooo many fucktard liberals

  30. (New Haven) – Yale = Bridgeport.

    (****shudder*****)

    That tax-sucking vampire, Gov Mallot, has announced he’s against this idiocy.
    Maybe he realizes you can’t sheer the sheep if they run away?

    Kevin R

    1. sp: change Mallot to Malloy.

      Kevin R

  31. They should move to Mexico…just like Trane…hahahahahaha

  32. how bad must it be that GE moved to Boston to get out of New Haven?

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  35. The idea of Yale moving to Boston is as much of a threat as the Yankees moving to New Jersey. Call that Bluff!

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