These provisions would be in addition to the current filing requirements made to the attorney general.
As we learned from the financial meltdown, self-regulation simply doesn’t work. Accountability and transparency are vital to good governance – both in the public and private sector. When major institutions amass a great deal of wealth and gamble their endowments in the markets, it jeopardizes the financial stability of all of us, and they should disclose more about what they are doing. This legislation will put vital information in the hands of citizens, legislators, and concerned stakeholders including students, alumni, faculty, unions, and communities. Through awarding these institutions the valuable tax-exempt status, the public invests deeply in private higher education.
Colleges and universities that fall within the guidelines would be required to calculate annually the dollar amount of all subsidies and tax exemptions they receive from the state or federal government and report that figure to the AG’s office in 2013.
Colleges and universities would be required to list all employees making over $250,000/year, report on any contracts that meet the threshold of $150,000 annually whether they are for services rendered or received, require that individuals on their boards and their immediate families file individual conflict of interest disclosures, and provide a listing of their assets and real property at the time of the annual filing with the office of the attorney general.
These tough economic times require that we squeeze every penny out of every dollar, and that we know where each of those pennies are spent. Massachusetts is in a real budget crisis, and need more information to understand the implication of all our budget decisions, including subsidies to private higher education. This new legislation seeks to ensure that Massachusetts taxpayers’ hard-earned money is used wisely.