From the Globe's editorial page: "How to strangle an economy"
His amendment to the House budget calls for a study of a 2.5 percent assessment each year on university endowments over $1 billion. The tax would affect nine of them, and in theory could generate an enormous amount of revenue; Harvard alone, with its endowment of $34 billion, would be on the hook for $840 million a year. But a tax of this magnitude on the state's universities and colleges would be economic suicide.The Robin Hood mentality dies hard.
Major research universities are the closest thing Massachusetts has to a goose that lays golden eggs. The nine schools in question employ a total of 27,000 people and pay $4.5 billion a year in wages and salaries, according to the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts. They bring in brainpower and outside research dollars. They fertilize the local healthcare, technology, and financial-services sectors - three other cornerstones of the local economy. And like most higher-education institutions, the targeted nine are stabilizing forces, since enrollments generally do not drop even in lean times.