GOP Candidate For Governor: Yale Getting Off Cheap On Taxes

It’s not just Democrats that are looking toward Yale University to help Connecticut out of its budget hole.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski singled-out the Ivy League institution during a visit Wednesday night to the Wallingford Republican town committee.

The one-time UBS and General Electric executive contended that Yale was getting off cheap and needed to do more to fill the state’s coffers.

“They’ve got a billion dollar endowment,” Stefanowski said. “They’re not paying taxes on [that] income. They’ve got property all over the state. They’re not paying property taxes. So I’m not anti-institution. But again, in a state with a $350 million budget deficit, these schools have to pay their fair share.”

Yale’s endowment was $27.2 billion as of June 30, 2017.

“Yale is dismayed that any civic leader would consider taxing nonprofits in Connecticut,” Yale spokeswoman Karen N. Peart said in an emailed statement. “Growing the economy is one of the most urgent challenges for the state, and strong colleges and universities are essential for a growing economy that adds well-paid jobs. The past 20 years demonstrate without question that Yale is committing to growing the New Haven and state economy.”

Stefanowski’s commentary recalls a controversial 2016 proposal to levy a tax on investment income of university endowments over $10 billion in Connecticut — Yale being the only one. The unsuccessful measure had the support of state Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, who is from New Haven and whose district includes Yale.

Stefanowski was responding to a question from Republican State Central Committee member Michael Vitali about whether the University of Connecticut and other higher learning institutions are shouldering their fair share.

Stefanowski said he has nothing against Yale.

“I love Yale. I got rejected by Yale. I’ve loved it ever since,” he said. “I was a screw up in high school. This state is hurting, so everybody is going to have to chip in and pay some of the freight here.”

Stefanowski spokesman Patrick Trueman said the gubernatorial hopeful just wants an equitable system.

“Bob feels that school tax policy should be fair across the board,” Trueman said.

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