Imagine having to pay thousands of dollars more in tuition fees, or going to a museum, only to find that it has been closed due to an inability to keep up with tax fees. These are just a few of the threats posed by the potential change in the way the University of New Haven, along with all other colleges, universities, and municipalities in the state of Connecticut, pay their property taxes.
Institutions like UNH, along with historical societies, hospitals, museums, and other nonprofit organizations in Connecticut are currently not required to pay any taxes on property because they play a crucial role in the betterment of the community. Instead, the state government reimburses local governments for what they do not collect by making a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT).
However, because of a new proposal that is being raised during the 2015 session of the Connecticut General Assembly, changes may be made to the structure of PILOT that would require colleges and universities, and possibly other organizations, to begin paying property taxes, which would cause a major financial burden for these institutions.
But how does this affect students? Well, for starters, this change in PILOT will potentially deny students access to hospitals, museums and other institutions that benefit, if not serve, as necessities to college students. Furthermore, should the University have to start paying these property taxes, then it’ll have to make up for these extra expenses somewhere, whether it’s through increased tuition fees, the closing down of various University programs, etc.
So, what can students do about this?
Kaplan asked students to participate in the #FutureCT campaign to urge legislators to vote against these changes. Launched by the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges (CCIC), of which UNH is a member, Kaplan explains that the campaign “promotes healthy, educated residents; spiritual, historical, and cultural vibrancy; and opportunity for all.”
While not all students are completely familiar with the campaign, many are willing to participate.
Emily Fogelquist, a senior, said “I have not participated, but I would consider it! I think it’s ridiculous that [UNH and other affected organizations] would have to pay taxes on land they own… Also if [these organizations] have to pay property taxes, they will increase prices for their services or the quality of their services would decrease.”
Sophomore Kate D’Alessandro agrees. “Forcing non-profits to pay property taxes in that way is absolutely ridiculous when you have big corporations being taxed as low as they are. Tax the corporations higher and leave the non-profits alone. I would absolutely participate in that protest.”
In order to participate, all one needs to do is go to http://www.futurect.org/join-us/ and write a short message to one’s legislators urging them to oppose these changes. The campaign can also be followed on Twitter and Facebook.Tweet