Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems for Harvard

1210262644Harvard University has a lot of money, which is good for Harvard. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, on the other hand, does not have much dough kicking around these days. While the state holds together its infrastructure with silly putty and prayer, Harvard is sitting on a huge tax-free nest egg and is slowly expanding its empire campus into Allston.

Having already tapped smokers to help float its budget, Beacon Hill is now hinting that it wants rich schools like Harvard to pitch in a little.

If the Longfellow Bridge crumbles into the Charles, aren’t the odds good that a Harvard or MIT student would be affected?

“It’s mind boggling that one entity not paying taxes has $34 billion. How do you justify that?” said [Rep. Paul] Kujawski, who serves on the influential House Ways and Means Committee. “When people can’t afford to live. How do you justify not taxing them?”

Let’s ask the staff of the Harvard Crimson, shall we?

This proposed taxation of 2.5 percent would have come with deleterious effects, and it is a relief, therefore, that it did not come to pass. These harmful byproducts could have included the discouragement against donations to the University and the disincentive for universities to make charitable contributions.

Step away from the thesaurus, kids.

Once you take away all the verbosity, the argument is that the college won’t stay ridiculously wealthy if alumni think the state may get its hands on a few bucks of their huge donations. But once you point out that a portion of their money went to ridiculous stuff like this, will they really mind so much?