Democratic candidate for governor Jay Gonzalez announced a proposal on Wednesday to tax private colleges in Massachusetts to pay for his transportation and education plans.
The tax would apply to nine schools across the state -- including Smith, Williams and Amherst Colleges in western Massachusetts.
Richard Doherty is president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts. He said the tax will limit how much financial aid private colleges can offer students.
"There's a huge commitment they play, a tremendous role in educating Massachusetts students. I think that's downplayed sometimes by some folks," Doherty said.
Massachusetts would be the first state to tax endowments.
It would come on top of a federal tax on investment earnings of wealthy universities passed in December. That federal tax affects six of the nine schools that would be included in Gonzalez's plan.