Yesterday Tastie Fish filed a report on the debate of whether or not Yale University should maintain it’s tax exempt status.
Our reporters questioned why an organization with $2.5 billion in land assets in the Elm City was reportedly paying only $4.5 million a year to the city of New Haven, and next to nothing on the $25 billion dollar endowment that grows with time.
Tastie Fish has spoken with two high ranking Connecticut lawmakers that have confirmed rumors within Connecticut political circles that surrogates of Yale University personally put pressure on members of the Connecticut legislature in an effort to make Senate bill 414 disappear before it ever left committee.
They succeeded, the bill never saw the light of day, and Yale is free to carry on paying meager amounts of taxes on billions of dollars in land and cash assets.
A high ranking lawmaker who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Tastie Fish
“They made it go away, that’s why you have not heard anything about it. The bill on it’s face is exactly what Connecticut needs, a healthy source of tax revenue. If you consider the current uproar over the state budget, and the pressure the Governor has be under to make ends meet, bill 414 not coming up for a vote should tell you something.
I hear there was a serious pressure from concerned parties to make it go away, some people threw they’re weight around from what I understand. There is people up here unhappy about it, I can tell you that, and I could see this issue being revisited sooner than you might think”.
Tastie Fish reached another Hartford based lawmaker who spoke on the condition of anonymity Saturday afternoon, and the Senator confirmed that Yale did indeed put pressure on the Connecticut Legislature to make the bill disappear.
“I heard there was pressure, a lot of pressure. People connected to Yale pressured individual members of the legislature, and that bill did not get very far.
When asked about Yale owning billions in property in New Haven, but paying minimal taxes on both the property, and the $25 billion dollar endowment, and operating in this manner while New Haven is in debt, the source told Tastie Fish
“I agree, New Haven could certainly use that money, and the state could use the tax revenue. If they have that much money, they should pay taxes just like everyone else”
When asked about the disconnect between Connecticut’s budget problems, and bills like 414 disappearing, the lawmaker told Tastie Fish
“That’s an excellent question, this is not my area, but Yale University not paying taxes doesn’t make sense. I have to agree that the only party who benefited from this bill not leaving committee was Yale”
Tastie Fish has spoke to 3 separate sources who confirmed Yale lobbying as bill 414 was under consideration, and believe that contributed to the city of New Haven missing out on a windfall that could have made a serious difference.
Lobbying is not illegal, this is America, but Connecticut is in the midst of a budget crisis, the population is shrinking, big corporations are leaving, and the gap between the rich and the poor is so depressing that lawmakers are literally having nightmares.
Connecticut is at a dangerous point in it’s history, a state that relied on manufacturing transitioned to finance as big companies and the people that own them made homes in Connecticut, eventually transforming the territory into the wealthiest state in the nation.
But that has nothing to do with the middle and lower class, who often struggle to find jobs, and that has undermined tax revenue, which puts pressure on lawmakers because there simply is not enough money.
That’s why you hear questions about toll booths and so forth.
Connecticut is roughly $2 billion dollars in debt, like New Haven, the state needs all the revenue it can get if they hope to reverse the consumer migration that is eating the economy alive.
So the decision by certain influential lawmakers to sweep bill 414 under the rug because they were feeling the heat is at best a controversial decision.
In theory, elected leaders are supposed to do what’s best for the people, but often campaign donations, and golf club members can tip the balance of official policy.
Tastie Fish is troubled by possibility that private citizens adversely affected such an important piece of public legislation.
Our reporters are scheduling conversations all over the Connecticut legislature, and are actively attempting to identify the private citizens that pressured different lawmakers.
We are also curious about which lawmakers allowed a perfectly healthy tax bill to die on arrival.
Tastie Fish will also be investigating why these lawmakers played ball with Connecticut drowning in debt, that would seem to be a dereliction of duty.
Please stay tuned to this story as it develops.