Yale Threatens To Evict Symphony

Paul Bass PhotoPolitics collided with the performing arts as Yale University threatened to evict the New Haven Symphony from its performance hall as part of a fight over a proposed state law.

The proposal in question — state Senate Bill 414 — seeks to clarify how a law passed in 1834 applies today. That 1834 law granted a special tax exemption to Yale and four other then-small Connecticut college and universities, over and above the general tax exemptions enjoyed by not-for-profit educational institutions. This special exemption allows the five schools to avoid paying taxes on buildings that partly house commercial activity, as long as that activity produces less than $6,000 in annual unrelated business income.

Proponents say the bill — which applies only to Yale (technically, only to universities with endowments over $2.5 billion) — would enable New Haven and West Haven to figure out whether they should be taxing, say, Yale’s genome center, where some for-profit contracting is done, or the Temple Street building in New Haven that houses the office of the university’s commercial property arm. The bill does not call for creating new taxes on the university or removing its 182-year-old special tax exemption.

Yale has lobbied hard against the bill since a legislative committee approved it the week before last. The university argues that the bill unconstitutionally singles out Yale, and would open the door to years of lawsuits. (This previous article details the arguments on both sides.)

With a full State Senate debate and vote looming in coming weeks, Yale ratcheted up its campaign against the bill by informing the symphony that, should the bill pass, “it would require the University to prohibit” the organization from holding any more concerts at Woolsey Hall — in order to preserve the hall’s tax-exempt status.

The bill, as currently drafted, does specify as revenues counting toward the $6,000 limit any “fees collected for admission or use of any sports or entertainment facility located on such real estate, except for fees collected for admission or use from faculty, employees or enrolled students, or events in which substantially all of the athletes or performers are faculty or enrolled students.”

The symphony responded by emailing a plea to 13 area state legislators that they “consider the impact of the unintended consequences to New Haven’s performing arts community and the general community before enacting legislation that could limit our and other not-for-profit organization access to Yale facilities.”

“We have been advised by Yale that if this legislation were enacted, it would require the University to prohibit the Symphony’s use of Woolsey Hall to keep it free of taxation,” symphony Executive Director Elaine C. Carroll and board President Robert Santy wrote in the email. “This would greatly impact the Symphony, which has called Woolsey Hall home since the Hall opened in 1902.  Yale has supported the Symphony by giving us easy access to the Hall at affordable rates (well below market price).  Should we be required to move, there is no comparable facility in New Haven to accommodate our concerts.”

In an interview, Carroll was asked whether she believes Yale is bluffing, or if it would really boot the symphony if SB 414 passes.

“These issues are so complicated, I don’t have the experience to pass judgement,” she responded. “What I’m confident on is that nobody on any side is looking to disadvantage the arts organizations in town.”

She declined to reveal how much the symphony pays to rent the hall. She said the group would have trouble finding another space that would fit its full-sized orchestra.

Yale’s lead state lobbyist, Richard Jacob, was asked if Yale truly intends to boot the symphony, or if it would merely raise the rental fee to cover a tax bill.

“It would be regrettable, if SB 414 were enacted,  if Yale had to prohibit the use of such facilities by community groups to heed the will of the General Assembly’s redefinition of such use as inappropriate for nontaxable space,” Jacob responded in an email message.

Does that mean Yale would prohibit the use, or let the symphony stay and pay more rent?

“The effect of the bill would be to prohibit use,” Jacob responded.

Jacob said in a follow-up call on Wednesday that the tax bill on Woolsey Hall would come in at $760,000 a year, “and that’s just Woolsey Hall.”

New Haven State Rep. Roland Lemar called the letter to the symphony — which he said other local arts organizations received, too — “the very definition of a scare tactic.”

“I do not think Yale’s interpretation of the bill is accurate, nor do I believe that the $27 billion institution would be forced to charge higher rents to local non-profits” if SB 414 passes, Lemar said. “But if Yale was really concerned about the bill wording and its potential impact on the community partners that they lease space to, they would reach out to me to discuss ways to address their concerns. Instead, I have heard nothing from Yale, except for when I call Mr. Jacobs or when I read their erroneous public statements.”

Lemar said he’s open to “further clarifying the language” to address the concern raised in the symphony letter. “But I have the sense that I will have to do so without Yale’s help, as I believe they are much more interested in engaging in misleading public relations stunts and blatant scare tactics than they are in finding common ground,” Lemar stated.

State Senate President Martin Looney of New Haven, another sponsor of the bill, said Tuesday that legislators are in fact “working to modify the language to narrow the scope of the bill. The goal of the legislation is to remove the ambiguity that currently exists in state statute. Technology transfer of academic research into commercial application was not within the contemplation of the legislature at the time the statute was modified in 1834. We must evaluate all exemptions in a contemporary context.”

Neither side of the debate has publicly released a list of properties that might be taxed if SB 414 were to pass. Mayor Toni Harp said during her weekly “Mayor Monday” appearance on WNHH radio’s “Dateline New Haven” program that few if any buildings would be added to the rolls, and that she believes Yale’s tax bill would hardly rise, if at all. She predicted that a reassessment of the 1834 special exemption might in fact lead to raising the $6,000 limit on commercial for-profit revenue an otherwise tax-exempt building could generate. She said she supports the law in order to obtain “clarity” on how to tax properties in town.

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posted by: Chucky_Dee on April 20, 2016  8:39am

Apparently the Symphony does NOT have very good lobbyists!  Once again in their ENDLESS QUEST! for MORE MONEY!!-NOW! our elected “representatives” PROVE they care about nothing else…

posted by: BoydJones on April 20, 2016  8:57am

There are consequences to passing stupid laws, just as there are consequences to electing people who have no idea what they are doing.

posted by: LookOut on April 20, 2016  9:01am

Well Roland, I’ll bet you didn’t think about things like this.  Yale has propped up New Haven for decades.  If you would like to see what we’d be like without Yale, drive to Bridgeport.

posted by: jim1 on April 20, 2016  9:10am

Big bad wolf.  We will blow the house down. Bluff all you want.

posted by: welcometosohu on April 20, 2016  9:22am

Wow, everyone knows Yale is a bully, but how often do they come out this publicly with their threats? Maybe Roland’s right that there’s a good reason to amend the bill. But you can tell that isn’t Yale’s real problem. They go to such rhetorical lengths to say that the bill would “force” them to kick out the symphony. This “inappropriate for nontaxable property” phrasing is such an impressive linguistic contortion! Nobody’s saying the symphony is inappropriate! They’re saying that if Yale is abusing its nontaxable property status, THAT’S inappropriate.

Besides, don’t all OTHER universities already get normal exemptions that protect this kind of thing? I’m pretty sure this bill can’t make Yale’s tax status fall to a level below what other schools already have, unless Yale is specifically cut out of the statute about general university tax exemptions. The most this bill can do is make Yale follow the same rules as everyone else, and from what I see it’s not even going to go that far.

C’mon, guys. Have a little spine. This just goes to show that it doesn’t matter what “voluntary” thing Yale provides, it’s not beneath them to threaten they’ll take it away if you do something they don’t like.

posted by: AverageTaxpayer on April 20, 2016  9:24am

Will Yale pay property taxes on the new apartment building they are building on the Tyco lot?

Is said building truly a dorm? Or is it income-producing investment property for the University? (since when are graduate student apartments integral to an academic mission?) Who gets to decide whether or not the new apartments should or should not be taxed? Yale? The City?

Why are 500 of Yale’s 800 graduate student apartments on the tax rolls,—but not the other 300? Again, who decides and by what rules?

I have to say that I’m not impressed by Yale’s threat to evict the New Haven Symphony. Once this bill passes, yes, I guess the City could decide to tax Woolsey Hall if our Tax Assessor deemed income property. But does anyone see that really happening?

If something like that were actually close to occurring, then and only then should Yale play this “eviction” card. But playing it now? That’s just more bullying behavior from the University.

posted by: robn on April 20, 2016  9:38am

Yale doesn’t owe the city more taxes; the State of Connecticut does because they’re the ones that invented the tax exemption in perpetuity. The state should carry the bill.

posted by: wendy1 on April 20, 2016  9:51am

Yale plays dirty…likes to threaten…

Who cares anyway since ,most New Havenites cant afford tickets.

I wish they’d move to FL….big bugs, big predators just like them.

posted by: Weston on April 20, 2016  10:00am

This behavior perfectly illustrates why we need SB 414.  In its opposition to SB 414 Yale has pointed towards all of the voluntary contributions it makes to our city.  Yet in the very same campaign and in the very same instance that it is pointing towards this “goodwill,” Yale once again exposes its view that these contributions are nothing more than leverage to get its way with the city and state.  This is not the behavior of a university.  Rather it is the behavior of a petty bully throwing tantrum, all because it does not want to pay property tax on commercial property. 

SB 414 gives our city the tools it needs to legitimately tax Yale’s commercial properties without having to constantly negotiate with these bullying tactics.

posted by: OneCityManyDreams on April 20, 2016  10:23am

Yale is another world. Another place governed by people not from New Haven. Their allegiance is not nor will it ever be to the people of New Haven. They are hiding something. Let them produce a list of these properties.

posted by: beaverhillsnewhaven on April 20, 2016  10:32am

Bravo Rep. Lemar!  Director Carroll seems clear no one wants to disadvantage the arts.  But leave it to Yale to take a legit policy discussion and make threats and throw a fit.  This is the main problem.  Yale can threaten the City anytime and its a terrible way to have a partnership.  If they want to walk the walk of partnership, they should work with the Mayor and the state legislature to clarify the law so everyone is clear on the rules.  And stop trying to scare people.

posted by: Weston on April 20, 2016  11:20am

It is also worth noting that Yale is engaging in the worst form of patronage politics.  This is the behavior of oligarchic landowners in developing countries, which many of Yale’s professors study as pathologies that undermine democracy.

posted by: robn on April 20, 2016  12:23pm

Reminder to readers; the comment board will be full of anti-rhetoric from Yales unionized employees who are simply using this to leverage Yale in their contract negotiations. How can American unionism have gone so wrong?

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on April 20, 2016  12:27pm

robn,
What is your interpretation of the 1834 law? It seems to say that any tax-exempt academic property that houses a commercial activity generating more than $6,000 ($143,656.80 adjusted for inflation) in annual revenue is actually taxable property. How is that the State’s responsibility to cover? I get your reasoning when it comes to traditionally tax-exempt properties like the residential colleges and gymnasiums - the State should fully fund PILOT - but why would the State need to cover for profitable commercial activities seemingly unlawfully shielded by non-profits in tax-exempt properties?

posted by: WendyLost on April 20, 2016  12:31pm

wendy1, without Yale I don’t think you would have been employed or have had any reason to come to New Haven, no?

without Yale the cities largest employer would be gone.

without Yale 5 out of the top 5 attractions on trip advisor would be gone.

without Yale most of our great civic institutions would be left homeless (i.e. the symphony)

without Yale thousands of students and professors and staff would be gone, as would the many businesses that are kept afloat by them.

without Yale, New haven is incomplete. without New Haven, Yale is incomplete. 

Obviously Yale does not want to evict the Symphony. It is saying that the bill is so poorly written, it will incentive this kind of behavior. This bill only creates opportunities for town-gown problems, which fall completely on the feet of Lemar.


Please now turn to the arguments of well.. Yale can afford it. Surely. Yale an buy everyone in New Haven a pony. Yale can afford to buy Luxembourg. Yale can afford to give every New Haven citizen 50,000.  Should it? Do it peers? Does any institution in the country pay more in voluntary money? Do other ivies open up their galleries for free to residents?

I won’t argue that Yale COULD do more, but I would challenge you to find me a school that DOES do more. It is a global university and New Haven is lucky to have it. If we can’t start at that fact, any conversation is pointless. Hundreds of other US towns work with their institutions to flourish. If Yale is like ALL these schools or better in terms of contributions to the home town, maybe New Haven is the one thats out of step.

posted by: Weston on April 20, 2016  1:03pm

Thanks WendyLost for providing yet more reasons for why this bill is so desperately needed.  It’s true, the ideas that Yale is simply going to uproot (and perhaps go to Florida) due to a bill that that will likely not increase its taxes by one cent are ridiculous and absurd.  But you are stressing a common and important theme.  If Yale doesn’t have veto power over every public policy that affects it, it will try to claim this veto power by brute force and bullying tactics.  It will resort to petty and mean threats, while reminding New Haven how much it needs Yale and how “nice” Yale has been.  It’s time to take at at one bullying tactic off of the table by clarifying the commercial properties, which are taxable.

If Yale is only concerned about plays, symphonies, and sports events, then it should lobby to have the legislation amended, rather than sending an army of lobbyists to kill the bill altogether.

posted by: Facts, not factoids on April 20, 2016  1:22pm

Wendylost,

Its hard to take you seriously when you have basic facts wrong. For example, No one is damaging town/gown relationships here, other than Yale. This actually seems like a fairly reasonable request, with limited impact.

Also, knowing something about the legislature (which you clearly do not), this is a Senate Bill. It seems like Lemar is serving as the House lead on this (likely because the fight there is more difficult), but this bill is very clearly the Senate’s priority (read Marty Looney/Gary Winfield). Also, I’m pretty sure EVERY elected official in New Haven is in support of this. So while it looks like Lemar has become the mouthpiece (likely just based on being the vice chair of Finance), this is clearly an entire City’s bill.

Finally, this isn’t about if Yale can afford it. Clearly they can. This is about tax certainty and equity. Yale has a special deal that virtually no other University in the world has, created in a time when some were still using whale oil to heat their homes.

If you and the Morand/Jacobs lackeys want to attack non-profits and Rep. Lemar, go for it.  I’m pretty sure the residents of New Haven and the rest of the New Haven delegation will pick up the slack.

posted by: WendyLost on April 20, 2016  1:25pm

Weston, when the bill is so obviously a power play by unions.. and is fundamentally flawed in its writing, why try to save it? Why would Yale ever try to support a bill that not only is against its interests, but against common practice everywhere else in the united states, and in CT singles out Yale specifically.  Everyone has agreed this doesn’t likely change yale’s taxes one bit, but imposes some real questions for how yale can operate many of its quasi-public buildings, lest it’s taxation be altered a lot.  Its a hostile bill, and Yale responded in kind. Why are our lawmakers not trying to build partnerships and positive things first? Its not for a lack of successful examples? ( new haven promise ring any bells?). Sure lets all torch Yale after they become intransigent. But it seems like we’re up in arms for Yale calling foul on a highly hostile bill that is likely unconstitutional.

Or is it just a tactic to get more leverage to in turn get money for upper level union members that live in the suburbs.

posted by: wendy1 on April 20, 2016  1:29pm

Wendylost, is your first name Bruce???

And yes, I would say you’re lost, ethics and morality, too.

posted by: Bill Saunders on April 20, 2016  1:47pm

I think The Shubert Theatre would fit the bill as a New and More Magnificent Home for The NH Symphony..

posted by: AtDix123 on April 20, 2016  1:55pm

WendyLost: Please. EVERY OTHER UNIVERSITY pays property taxes on commercial activity! So- in your “challenge” to find a university that does more… well, that’s pretty easy.

And anyways, does anyone really think if this bill passes that the tax assessor will put the Symphony on the tax rolls? Come on. Yale is just throwing a public tantrum, because it wants people (like WendyLost) to run around screaming “poor Yale! They are going to leave us!” Yale isn’t leaving, Yale’s just a bully that is threatening to get its way.

posted by: robn on April 20, 2016  1:59pm

JH,

I’m saying to disregard the 1834 law because the original tax exemption is anachronistic; because Yales benefits are now global and not local, the local tax exemption violates the equal protection clause of our state constitution by unfairly burdening a single municipality.

posted by: Weston on April 20, 2016  2:04pm

Well it is quite possible that Yale is misreading or misrepresenting the bill.  Even if not, no one believes that the Rep, the gym or the performance hall will be taxed, and this would be a simple fix rather than a fundamental flaw.

Nearly everyone in New Haven agrees that Yale should pay property tax on its commercial properties and that this tax shouldn’t be another lever that Yale can pull to mandate public policy.  With regards to the other ways that Yale invests in New Haven, Yale should decide if it wants to act like a university investing in its host city or an oligarch who sees every contribution as an investment in its own power.

posted by: Noteworthy on April 20, 2016  2:38pm

Yale is being a bully - and I was wondering when it would try to exact revenge. Does Yale provide benefits to New Haven? Sure, but it is also a parasite that is eating its host. I’m not sure it’s balanced. But what i do know is that having the symphony play in Woolsey Hall is not jeopardizing Yale’s tax status. To claim otherwise is just a lie.

posted by: HenryCT on April 20, 2016  3:20pm

Will Yale also evict the Yale Philharmonia and other Yale groups that charge the public for tickets?

posted by: WendyLost on April 20, 2016  3:20pm

AtDix123:
“EVERY OTHER UNIVERSITY pays property taxes on commercial activity! So- in your “challenge” to find a university that does more… well, that’s pretty easy.”

Yes, Yale pays taxes on its commercial activity. $4.5 million last year for commercial holdings. I’m sure you can find universities which own more and thus pay more. My challenge to find a university who pays more in voluntary payments remains.

Nor did I say poor Yale. I’m saying poor New Haven. We have the opportunity to work with a giant, world class, rich institution. Our political leaders seem instead more prone to poke at it for the detriment of the city for the small benefit of some union brass.

Wendy1:

Not Bruce, but once again thank you for the vibrant, substantive, and oh so constructive discourse.


Weston:

Not saying Yale is going to leave at all. Just saying Yale provides much to the town. Capitalizing on it seems more prudent. Read the text of the law, in its entirety. Its quite short. It makes it very clear, without a radical rewriting of the bill, that anything that brings in REVENUE (changing this to profit would make sense) is taxable. The Symphony charges for tickets, thus Woosley is taxable. Its a very stupid bill. What is its goal? Does it achieve it?


“Yale has a special deal that virtually no other University in the world has, created in a time when some were still using whale oil to heat their homes.”
This is simply untrue. I invite people to give evidence how Yale’s tax status (specifically in terms of types of buildings actually taxed) is different from other universities. I’ve been at 5 similar institutions in my life and see no difference.  I see no ways, in practice, the 1834 law provides more exemptions than current state and national laws governing non-profits give.

posted by: WendyLost on April 20, 2016  3:25pm

HenryCT

Under the current wording of this bill, unless they want to be taxed on woolsey hall, they would have to. Or they could enforce that a non-majority of the audience is not students or yale affiliates.

posted by: WendyLost on April 20, 2016  3:32pm

As a good comparison:

We could fight to get the same deal Harvard has with Cambridge. All of its noncommercial property is untaxed. It pays $1.7 million a year, with a 3% increase a year.

Seems like a perfect deal for New Haven versus the $8.2 million Yale payed this year.  Cambridge will be receiving the same amount New Haven gets from Yale by 2075. What a steal!

Googling is so hard some days.

posted by: Bill Saunders on April 20, 2016  4:01pm

Wendylost:

You’re right, Google is Great!!!!  I found out that Cambridge has a mil rate about half ours.  Also, starting with the real estate crash, Harvard seriously divested their real estate portion of their investment profile, while Yale’s strategy was one on investing in real property..

What I want to know is why the 4th oldest and 4th Richest University is picking on the 4th Oldest Symphony over 6 measly shows????  In a letter I found from NHSO, they were pleading for more money/less cuts to ‘meet the needs of Community Partners’.  The Shubert was mentioned as a partner, as was Arts and Ideas.  Yale was omitted.  Maybe they are mad about that, or there is writing on the bathroom walls of Woolsey Hall that we are not privy to…..

posted by: WendyLost on April 20, 2016  4:39pm

Bill,

First off, lets see some numbers. Its not that I don’t believe you, its just that numbers help people. Harvard still owns great swaths of harvard square that it leases out commercially. Moreover they are rapidly expanding their commercial and non commercial holdings throughout Cambridge and boston.  New Haven also begged Yale to buy up commercial property in the 80s and 90s to stabilize what was left.

I don’t think Yale is picking on the NHSO? They aren’t threatening them eviction as the title of this article implies. As the bill is currently written, continuing to host the NHSO will suddenly represent a huge, and new, tax burden without any changes to the current programming of the building. Its their responsibility to avoid that, no? Arts and Ideas get its major funding from Yale, and uses many of its buildings for it (which would also have to stop, but you wouldn’t be upset if A&I stopped, you contrarian you)

posted by: anonymous on April 20, 2016  4:48pm

Yale is a huge contributor to the economy, but has anyone calculated the true long-term public cost of providing all of the highways, roads, buses, trains, water systems, policing, court and justice system, public health services, public schools for employees’ children, and other infrastructure that allows Yale to exist here? 

Yale is a big part of the tax base, but it also simply could not exist here if it did not have all of those things. 

Sure, Yale could get a gigantic public subsidy like GE and move to Florida, but the infrastructure and other public costs would eventually catch up there, too.

Yale pays more in taxes and contributions to the city than just about any other university, and maybe Yale provides a net positive economic boost to the city and state.  But maybe it doesn’t anymore, after all of the public costs are considered. 

Before deciding on whether taxes need to be restructured, it would be great to see an impartial accounting of these things, considering that the costs of public goods have risen dramatically in recent decades.

My guess is that, on balance, Yale provides a very large net benefit to the economy and tax base.  If that’s the case, the state should be much more supportive of it - in fact, the state should scrap much of the funding it gives to UConn, and give it to Yale, if Yale is that much more efficient at boosting the state’s economy per public dollar spent on infrastructure, etc.  But if it is not, adjustments could be needed.

posted by: Bill Saunders on April 20, 2016  5:17pm

Wendylost,

I dug net deep, and found articles on both Yale and Harvard’s Portfolios’, but there is not enough ‘real’ data to draw any direct conclusion, but there are pieces of info (like mil rate & Portfolio Mgmt goals) that make your comparison specious at best…..

As for NHSO being picked on by Yale, in the letter I cited, The Shubert is specifically cited as a preferred venue because of the added visual elements/lighting/projection that a full theatre offers.

Draw your own conclusions, the truth is stuck in the mire…..

posted by: Bill Saunders on April 20, 2016  5:22pm

Wendylost,

I think there is some weird nexus going on between Yale and A&I that represents how Non-profits prop each other up for continued access to free money to fund their outrageous salaries, with very little to actually show for it, except a trumped up ‘economic impact study’.....

.  But that is a different story…...

posted by: SkepticalNHV on April 20, 2016  6:01pm

Religious institutions in New Haven are required to pay taxes on their commercial properties, so why should Yale, as an educational institution, be exempt?

This seems like a blatant case of bullying to me. Yale behaves like a petulant child, throwing a temper tantrum when it doesn’t get it’s way. Why threaten the Symphony? Are they going to shut down their travel agency as well?

I say, good for Rep. Lemar, thank you for taking a firm stand.

posted by: win win on April 20, 2016  6:07pm

@Robn

Thank good ness someone has the courage to stick up for poor defenseless Yale, Incorporated! How would they defend themselves if not for you, Robn & friends!? Why they’d be forced to carry their own water (how demeaning)! The mere thought is ghastly. I mean the poor maligned souls of the corporation don’t even live in the same time zone. They’d have to get in their corporate jets and fly all the way to pathetic little New Haven to swat these flies if you lot didn’t have the vision and the valiance to do it for them!

Everyone knows the community and the workers in this town are a bunch of ungrateful, undeserving whiners. Always carrying on about “fairness”, “democracy”, “freedom from intimidation”, “the rule of law”, “good jobs”, “kids having enough to eat” BLAH BLAH BLAH. It’s ridiculous. Who do these lowlifes think they are? They’d be NOTHING without almighty Yale (hallowed be its name).

posted by: Dwightstreeter on April 20, 2016  6:17pm

Jonathan Hopkins: please republish the link to the 1985 Tax Revenue Commission Report that proved the City was subsidizing Yale. Economist Richard Wolff chaired the study and wrote most of the report.
FYI, there are other analyses that support the same conclusion and I will post them another day.
The YSO is not the problem; the continued exploitation by the Yale Corp. of an anachronistic limited exemption proves that the Yale Corp’s self-interest is paramount.
It can choose to be a good citizen and admit the jig is up or it can bully one institution/ individual at a time.
It is NOT winning the PR battle.
Where is Salovey’s “emotional intelligence” (a basically good concept) when it needs to be applied to New Haven?

posted by: Albatross on April 20, 2016  6:19pm

Mayor Harp, you already stepped in it when you grandstanded for the State Senate bills last month.  To claim that your support is in the name of “clarity” and pretend that the bill would have a neutral effect on Yale’s taxes is a feeble attempt to placate both sides.  How about the cost to state taxpayers from resulting years of litigation?  And if the bill wouldn’t change revenue to the City, why on earth spend so much time and effort advocating for it?  Please focus on things that actually make a difference for the people of New Haven, not just the unions’ interests. 

Roland Lemar—pot, meet kettle.  Talk about misleading public relations stunts.  I love how Yale’s endowment value is skyrocketing, in his remarks anyway, now it’s $27 billion?  Last week it was 26 billion and before that $25 billion.  Way to ignore how this relates to the income it gives off each year, that there are restrictions on how it can be spent, that other sources of revenue like grants are going away, and inflation. Please just stop with suggesting that the endowment value equates to some limitless pile of money.  If that’s the rationale, then great, we can solve this crisis with the Connecticut Endowment for the Arts alone, which is now what, $5 million – why does CT refuse to just spend it, why not give it to the NH Symphony Orchestra?

posted by: robn on April 20, 2016  7:26pm

The union shill entitlement rage is loud indeed. I guess leveraging control of the BOA into the worlds most shamelessly generous contract last time around just wasn’t enough.

posted by: TheMadcap on April 20, 2016  11:03pm

“The union shill entitlement rage is loud indeed.”

Imagine having such a neurosis about unions that these are the words that come out of your fingers when reading this story.

posted by: westville man on April 21, 2016  8:29am

It hasn’t taken long for the bloom to fall of the rose in West Haven, has it?  Loved the Yale arrival at 1st, now…...not so sure.  Wonder why.

posted by: Walt on April 21, 2016  10:08am

So?

Symphony will rent   the old Roger Sherman or Oakdale

Yale will pay more taxes

Residential New Haven taxpayers will pay a bit less

Symphony tickets will cost   a bit more,

Seems OK to me.

posted by: robn on April 21, 2016  12:54pm

MADCAP,

Thanks for the Orwellian attribution of mental illness to my dissent. Kind of proves my point.

posted by: win win on April 21, 2016  1:24pm

For too long Yale has been able to get away with bullying, buy-offs, and threats like this one. SB 414 is a long overdue effort to put the city on more equal footing with Yale.

We can’t be dependent on “voluntary” contributions subject to change at any time or on charity (charity to the tune of a measly $8 million per year, which, by the way amounts to less than 10% of what they would be required to pay were they not tax-exempt; and which amounts to less than their DAILY interest earnings on their endowment) to govern our city. It’s unfair to taxpayers and to other businesses which compete with Yale’s for-profit enterprises.
We need a fair system of taxation. No one should be above the law. If churches and other universities must pay taxes on commercial properties then so should Yale. By law.

Because Yale is above the law not only do the rest of us New Haven taxpayers have to make up the difference, but the rest of the state shoulders the burden as well in the form of PILOT (which only overs a portion of the total lost revenue). This is in everyone’s best interest - even Yale’s (if they actually cared about having a stable, safe host city. But I guess they’d rather keep building walls).

posted by: WillWilkin on April 21, 2016  6:20pm

It would be ironic and a travesty if lawmakers would change or interpret a tax-emption law in such a way as to injure a non-profit orchestra that provides enormous quality of life contribution to the community.  But considering CT also drives up health costs by taxing hospitals, anything seems possible.  And so if renting Woolsey Hall to the NHSO truly jeopardizes the tax-exempt status of the building, wouldn’t Yale consider waiving the fee?  Perhaps the NHSO could just reimburse whatever custodian or other costs are incurred by Yale, rather than a rental “fee”?  In that case, perhaps NHSO would actually find itself in a better position rather than evicted.  Otherwise it seems time to build a New Haven Symphony Hall, how much would that cost?