MNN Opposes Plan to Tax Massachusetts Colleges and Universities: “It’s Bad for Massachusetts”

BOSTON, MA – Today the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) declared its opposition to a proposal to levy a tax on the endowments of colleges and universities in Massachusetts.

“It’s a bad idea–for Massachusetts, and for everyone served by nonprofits in Massachusetts,” said Jim Klocke, CEO of MNN.

Nonprofits are a critical economic engine for Massachusetts, providing 550,000 jobs and employing over 17% of the state’s workforce. The state’s more than 33,000 nonprofits are cornerstones of Massachusetts communities. The nonprofit sector enriches neighborhoods and provides vital services to the state’s most vulnerable residents.

From scholarships to local students, to free and subsidized health care, to a wide array of environmental, artistic, historic, and cultural programs, Massachusetts nonprofits make immense contributions that benefit residents and government alike. In addition to delivering vital services, they provide hundreds of millions of dollars of community benefits each year.

In addition to their economic contributions to the Commonwealth, nonprofits are mission driven organizations. They contribute to the public good, provide services that government would have to provide absent the nonprofit, and re-invest any revenue surplus back into their budgets to further their mission. As such, nonprofits are treated differently under federal and state laws, including receiving tax-exempt status.

Nonprofits are already bracing for the negative impact of the recently passed federal tax reform legislation. According to a 2017 MNN report, the doubling of the standard deduction will make it more expensive for middle-income donors to give to nonprofits, and could potentially result in a decline in giving in Massachusetts by as much as $513 million beginning next year.