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The headline reads “Providence drowns while Brown thrives.”

Providence faces a huge budget deficit and the prospect of cutting services, while its local colleges are booming. The mayor wants to extract increased payments in lieu of taxes  from the nonprofit schools.

Rochester faces the same situation, except our city officials aren’t eager to make the University of Rochester pay more. If the main U of R campus, not including the medical school, were fully assessed, the college would pay more than $3 million a year. Instead, the city charges the school user fees for snow removal and other services that amounted to less than $200,000 in 2006.

The U of R’s massive economic impact tends to blunt any criticism the institution should pay more. But that massive economic impact is not exactly keeping the city afloat. When Kodak was the largest employer, the city was able to reap the benefits of the company’s building boom through property taxes. The U of R is about to build a $180 million hospital and the city won’t get a nickel. The city has to pray U of R workers buy houses in the city.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner got Syracuse University to cough up an extra $500,000 a year. Syracuse officials are also looking long and hard at requests for tax breaks for university-related private development. Rochester is doing the opposite.

Cities around the country are having this conversation. I think Rochester should, too.

– The news media keeps using the same pictures of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. Are the images prejudicial?

– It’s a tough time to be a local TV sportscaster. Fortunately, this trend hasn’t taken hold in Rochester to a large degree.

Why the heck does Monroe Community College need holding cells?

3 Responses to Should U of R Pay More?

  1. March 30, 2012 at 1:35 pm ben C. responds:

    It is time to seriously reconsider the entire non/not-for-profit real estate tax exemptions for all categories of direct non-governmental land uses within municipalities.

    Non-profits and not-for-profits have long since been benefiting from huge governmental subsidies in the form of public health care reimburements, student grants and loans to higher education, federal and state research grants, infra-stucture investments for convenient access to facilities and general permission to create monopolistic heath care institutions through assumptions there would be economy of scale.

    But, after decades of this permissiveness, who can argue that higher eduaction and health care cost have not soared in embassassing excess of the cost of living indices for other service and technological industries.

    Maybe in colonial times we could have counted on not-for-profit institutions to take tax exemtions and not eat our lunch, too. Nowdays, there’s something obscene about the Third Sector of the economy getting a free ride at the expense of the other 1/3 private sector paying the taxes for them to the other 1/3sector, government.

  2. March 31, 2012 at 10:29 am Kevin Yost responds:

    Yes, U of R and Brown should pay more to their respective cities, RIT should pay more to the Town of Henrietta and Henrietta Fire District. All colleges and universities should pay just a little more to their respective municipalities and special districts.

  3. March 31, 2012 at 1:12 pm lynn ellingwood responds:

    Sure they should pay more. Poverty is close to the U of R and people see the difference in what they receive next to how the college is treated. Resentment grows.

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