RELATED STORY

List of U.S. colleges and universities by endowment

Well, now in Massachusetts they are looking to tax college endowments, university endowments that have more than a billion dollars in it.  They say that by doing this, they can put more than a billion dollars a year into the state revenue.  Legislators have asked state finance officials to study a plan that would impose a 2.5% annual assessment on colleges with endowments over a billion dollars.  Now, the universities are very upset and here’s quite possibly — I want to frame this.  I want to frame this.  I want this on my wall of my office.  When a nonprofit, when a nonprofit is making money, it’s mind-boggling.  Why tax them?

Now, one guy who is head of the ways and means committee in Massachusetts says it’s mind-boggling that an entity wouldn’t be paying taxes that has $34 billion.  How can you justify that when people can’t afford to live, how could you justify not taxing them?  Ready?  Here it is.  This is what I want framed.  Kevin Casey, Harvard’s associate vice president for government, community and public affairs said, "You can’t do that.  You’d be taxing success."  No, it gets better.  "And over time this would put us at a competitive disadvantage.  It would hurt the state."  No, you’re kidding me.  It’s like you’re taxing success by taxing people who are making money and who happen to be richer than others?  You’re taxing success?  Boy, Kevin, I never looked at it that way.  You might be onto something there.  "Over time this would put us at a real competitive disadvantage."  No, it would put Harvard at a disadvantage against those who didn’t get taxed?  No.  Who might pay a lower tax?  It might put that company at a disadvantage?  No, no, Kevin, you’re looking at it wrong.  We’re just trying to help out Greater New Haven State Technical College.  That’s what we’re trying to do.  We’re only trying — it’s affirmative action for Greater New Haven State Technical College.  We’re trying to help them.  We’re trying to level the playing field.  It’s only out of fairness, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.  It might put them at a — no.


And then he goes on.  In the final insult to injury he goes on to say, "And it would hurt the commonwealth.  It would hurt the state."  How?  How?  Are you saying because Harvard wouldn’t be able to have so much money so they couldn’t grow?  So they couldn’t hire more people?  They couldn’t bring more people into the state?  I never thought of that when I was thinking about taxes and companies.  I just thought, oh, they’re screwing the state; the bigger they get, the more people they hire, the more people that live here.  It’s crazy.  It’s almost like you’re talking about the philosophy of, oh, I don’t know, Texas.  It’s almost like you’re describing the philosophy of, oh, I don’t know, a conservative.  It’s like you’re taxing success.  No, Kevin, you’re wrong.  It’s not like we’re taxing success.  We would be taxing success.  Oh, sucks, doesn’t it?  And yet I could guarantee you it’s these same eggheads and people like Barack Obama who will go right after Exxon and not understand.

Right now there’s a big offshore oil convention going on in Houston, which is surprising.  One of the most profitable and economically secure cities in America right now.  Hmmm, what’s up with that, I wonder?  Maybe it has something to do with no state income tax.  Maybe it has something to do with energy and oil.  But why concentrate on the little details like that?  In Houston right now there is this oil convention going on for offshore drilling.  All of the countries, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Kuwait, Venezuela, all of the — Brazil, everybody is at this convention.  And what are they talking about?  Offshore drilling.  They’re all using our technology to drill, and a lot of them in the Gulf of Mexico.  "But we won’t drill that because that’s unsafe.  That’s wrong."  So we’ll let other countries do it.  They will claim and stake a claim for 100 years for the oil underneath the Gulf of Mexico but we won’t take it.  We won’t take it.  No, no, no.  We’ve got evil universities.  We’ve got evil oil companies here.  Oh, my gosh, these evil oil companies.  We’ve got to drag their butts in front of congress, ask them why they’re making so much money.  Oh, yeah.  Meanwhile Putin makes people president in Russia if you are the head of an oil company:  Hey, congratulations, you are successful; you are the next President.

Us, can you imagine having the president of an oil company be the President of the United States in this country?  (Gasping).  "What?"  Yet, you would absolutely be somebody who is the president of a university.  Why, he’s respected and he will go after those evil oil companies.  "But not the sacred university.  That might be like taxing success."