Some municipal and state leaders would like to see non-profit colleges and hospitals pay taxes to the towns where they reside. One higher education official said the particular idea currently being floated is unfair.
Under Connecticut’s PILOT program, the state pays funds to towns in lieu of local property taxes for institutions like colleges and hospitals. House Speaker Brendan Sharkey said it's time for that to change.
Under a plan called Reverse PILOT, Sharkey proposes having institutions pay taxes to the cities and towns where they’re based. "There’s a lot of institutions taking a lot of heat right now for the fact that they are not engaging in this conversation with their local towns. So this is really a culmination of a lot of years of frustration that they knew was coming."
According to the plan, institutions could ask the state legislature for relief. Speaking on WNPR’s Where We Live, Goodwin College President Mark Scheinberg said Sharkey’s idea is unfair.
"He doesn’t say that to the state institutions," Scheinberg said, such as the University of Connecticut or the state colleges and universities. "He’s also not saying that the kind of college people think about when they think about private colleges in Connecticut would be part of this either," he said. "For example, Yale University is a non-profit, and that is actually enshrined in our own constitution. Yale would not be part of this. Nor would Connecticut College, Wesleyan, or Trinity, who are also part of that group."
Goodwin College, based in East Hartford, used to be a tax-paying, for-profit school. Now it's non-profit.
Scheinberg pointed out that Goodwin is still the second-largest taxpayer in town via the many homes the school has bought, fixed up, and rented out. He said a recent study found that Goodwin has provided $1.3 billion in new income into the East Hartford region since it's been there.