New York universities’ tax breaks come under more scrutiny

Not one university in New York City pays property taxes on academic buildings and dormitories, including two of the nation’s wealthiest institutions, Columbia and New York University, write Matthew Haag and Meredith Kolodner for The New York Times in collaboration with The Hechinger Report.

“I call them the untouchables: I can’t think of anyone who has been willing to take on this issue,” said Harvey Robins, who worked for Mayor Edward I Koch and Mayor David N Dinkins and has followed the issue of tax exemptions for universities. “It’s really important that we begin a conversation finally about who pays what and who subsidises whom.”

The debate may have been muted in New York because the city has other major revenue streams, such as Wall Street. But with financial challenges looming, a growing number of city and state officials are re-examining the longstanding exemptions for private universities. Property tax revenue accounts for more than 40% of the city’s total tax collections.
Full report on The New York Times site